BRIDGEPORT — A part-time bodybuilder, Godzilla aficionado and online toy dealer has re-opened his store specializing in rare action figures.
"People started to contact my website and said I should open up a store so I did," said Loris Basso, owner of the Monster Island Toys store that made its debut at 750 W. 35th St. earlier this month.
Monster Island Toys specializes in Godzilla figurines imported from Japan.
Basso said the fascination with the famous monster is leftover from childhood — he was a fan of Godzilla movies but couldn’t find action figures in any stores.
"I don't know. I guess it just stuck with me," Basso said.
Fast forward a few decades and his store’s shelves are now filled with all manner of Godzilla posters, DVDs and figurines like "Space Godzilla," "Godzilla 1954," "Godzilla 2005" and hundreds more. There’s even a pair of plush Godzilla slippers.
The store also sells rare figurines of the Japanese superhero Ultraman, Scarface, Freddy Krueger, Herman Munster, the band KISS, superheroes and cartoon Ghostbusters to name just a few.
"It's a lot of old stuff that's been newly released," he said.
Many of the figures retail for about $20.
For Basso, 44, of Tinley Park, it’s the third storefront he’s opened in Bridgeport.
He originally opened Monster Island down the street at 3407 S. Halsted St. in 2007. One year later he moved to 3335 S. Halsted St. and then moved the store to Arlington Heights in 2009. The store went online-only in 2011.
Now, the amateur bodybuilder has decided to take another crack at opening a brick-and-mortar store while running the website.
"You can't walk into any toy store and find these. You just won't," he said.