Above: Scott Clonts, owner of Scott’s Vintage Toys & Christmas in Dallas, Ga., holds one of his favorite items at the store, a 1960s Deluxe Playmobile Dashboard. Photo by Anthony Clonts.

Everybody has a toy story. Maybe it’s that 1960s turquoise Easy Bake Oven with its tiny cake pans that you waited for “forever.” Or, maybe it’s a G.I. Joe, an antique doll or a Matchbox car that someone very special gave you.

Or, it could be something you never got that you really, really wanted.

Old toys are not forgotten, and a lot of them are not gone, either. They can be found online, but you can reach out and touch them at vintage toy retailers in and around Atlanta.

Among these spots is Scott’s Vintage Toys & Christmas in Paulding County, where owner Scott Clonts admits he’s attached to every toy he sells. “Everything that parts, truly, it literally is like a piece of my heart. I guess it’s because of the research I’ve done, and I’ve seen how special this stuff was,” Clonts said. “It’s not toys I’m selling, it’s memories. It’s people’s best memories.”

Here are the toy stories of several purveyors of the past.

Transporter Vintage and Retro

Transporter Great Garloo
Chris Shubert shows off some merchandise at his Transporter Vintage & Retro store in Little Five Points. One of his favorite toys there, the big green Great Garloo, stands watch from the shelves. Photo by Collin Kelley.

This aptly named shop in Little Five Points stays jam-packed with the discoveries of its owner Chris Shubert. While it transports visitors to another place in time, its name actually stems from Shubert’s lifelong obsession with Volkswagen vehicles including the VW van, also known as the Transporter.

A few years ago, he sold several VWs that he’d restored so he could move from online sales of vintage toys to a brick and mortar store. He’s a passionate collector of VW toys, which threaten to overtake his home. “I fill my crawlspace with them,” he said.

Some of them make it into his store, which features everything from jewelry, comic books, clothing and Shubert’s original paintings of vintage toys to board games, dolls, action figures and toy cars. A metal Raggedy Ann TV tray and a 1979 “Fabulous Las Vegas Showgirl” doll in head-to-toe pink feather boa were among some of the more unusual items recently for sale.

“Some people have said I should charge at the door because this is like a museum,” Shubert said. His customers include people on the prowl for film sets and regulars who stay on the lookout for Star Wars, G.I. Joe and other collectibles.

“Wonder Woman stuff goes so quick. So does My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite. And I can’t keep Barbie stuff,” Shubert said. He also loves to carry He-Man and other action figures he and his brother, Jason, played with as boys.

Transporter Phil Mosier
Shopping for a Christmas gift at Transporter, Manuel Llaneras is looking at the X-10 Space Tank, a sci-fi toy manufactured in the early 1960’s. Photo by Phil Mosier.

His stock comes from individual sellers and from his forays through attics, auctioned storage units, sheds, flea markets and “anywhere I can scrape things up,” he said.

While he’s definitely in business to sell, Shubert would be fine with one toy never leaving his store. That would be his two-foot, battery-controlled green monster, the Great Garloo. “They had a really great commercial for it in the ‘60s,” he said. “In the toy world it’s the holy grail.”

Scott’s Vintage Toys & Christmas

Scott's Vintage Toys gas station
Scott’s Vintage Toys & Christmas sits beside the body shop in this former filling station in Dallas, Ga. Photo courtesy of Scott Clonts.

Scott Clonts loves watching the reaction of visitors to his Dallas, Ga. store, fittingly located in a former Sinclair gas station/grocery store built in 1954.

“They walk in, first word they say is usually ‘Wow!’” he said. “People literally get teary eyed when they see my Chatty Kathy, my Thumbelina, my Easy Bake Oven, my G.I. Joes. … They find their best friend.”

The store opened six years ago in space that Clonts used for his real estate business until the Great Recession tanked the industry and he also suffered a near fatal fall from the roof of his building.

While he was recovering, his wife, Renee, was uncovering piles of vintage toys and Christmas items he’d been stashing away for years in the basements of their house and the business, which includes his auto collision shop.

She moved it all to the empty real estate space. A sale was advertised, and the store was born.

Clonts got back to selling real estate full swing, but he also stays on the hunt for new additions to his store. He’s especially excited to find old windup toys, which are favorites of both him and his wife.

Playmobile Dashboard
A 1960s Deluxe Playmobile Dashboard is one the many retro toys for sale and on display at Scott’s Vintage Toys & Christmas. Photo courtesy of Scott Clonts.

The store maintains a large collection of Western-themed toys, a room with running Marx model train sets from the ‘40s and ‘50s and slot car sets from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and an entire room devoted to early Barbie dolls, complete with campers and dreamhouses.

Clonts, who loves to cook, had always thought he might spend his golden years running a little coffee shop or restaurant.

“Nothing in my wildest dreams would have been ‘I’m selling Barbies.’ That wasn’t in the plan,” Clonts said. “But something bigger than me was in His plan.”

Full Circle Toys owners
Owners Kelli and Richard Mix offer new and vintage action figures, comic books and many other toys and video games at Full Circle Toys. SPECIAL.

Full Circle Toys

Explore the front of this 10-year-old Newnan store for vintage action figures, Transformers, Barbies, comic books, dolls, model cars and planes, and all things Lego.

Head to the back of the store to find vintage vinyl records and a gamer’s paradise featuring tabletop RPG games, retro video game systems and thousands of games for almost every system. The store also carries new toys and video games.

“We try to offer stock that Walmart, GameStop and Target don’t offer,” said Kelli Mix, who owns the store with her husband, Richard, and has a personal passion for View-Masters.

The store buys from sellers from across Georgia and will search for items customers don’t find on its shelves.

G.I. Joe and Star Wars are the top sellers, Mix said, adding that toys from the ‘80s such as My Little Pony and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are hot right now.

Full Circle Toys Viewmasters
A collection of ViewMasters at Full Circle Toys in Newnan, Ga. SPECIAL.

“We’re called Full Circle because we take you from the time you were a child till the time you’re retired,” she said. “We’re here because we like to make people happy.”

  • Full Circle Toys, 17 Jefferson Street, Newnan 30263
  • Info: fullcircletoys.com, 770-253-7799

Donna Williams Lewis a freelance writer based in Atlanta. She previously worked as an editor and journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.