Recently, I was having a loud and aggressive discussion on my radio show about Star Wars and Marvel, stating emphatically, that those two-worlds SHOULD NOT meet in the multiverse.

Get our free mobile app

That is when my I-95 App Chat Alert notification popped up on the screen. A listener named Ginger wanted me to know there was a toy store in Pawling, NY that I might like called The Imperial Castle.

Imperial Castle
Imperial Castle
loading...

I went and checked out the website and saw my childhood flash before my eyes. I reached out to the owner John to see about prices. I had to set a budget for what I would be buying.

When John and I spoke, I asked how a grown man ends up selling toys for a living? That was not a judgmental question, I was actually extremely jealous, and wanted to know the road map to Shangri-La.

Imperial Castle
Imperial Castle
loading...

John said it started when his son began getting into Star Wars. He said that rekindled his love for the action figures from the original trilogy (1977-1983) so he just started buying them again.

Imperial Castle
Imperial Castle
loading...

Star Wars collecting led to collecting other toy lines and action figures. Before too long, John was moderating toy-collection forums online, where he learned this was all big business and a ton of fun.

By 2017, his passion collided with his distaste for his corporate life. John had been working for a telecom company for over 15 years, and have carved out a very nice living but he was miserable.

John told me the environment had become "toxic" and he immediately began to "clash" with a new boss. John was an award-winning rep for his company, with years of experience but he was unhappy. Then, his new boss threatened to "write him up."

John called his wife, came clean about his misery at work, and discussed quitting. John's wife told him, to tell the boss, to go F--- himself. John handed in his two weeks notice that day.

The next day John Googled "Open a Toy Store" and the dream was underway. He "haphazardly" purchased as much toy inventory as he could online, leased a space in Pawling and The Imperial Castle became a business.

Imperial Castle
Imperial Castle
loading...

John told me, he gave himself one year to pass or fail at this. He said:

"Now, four and half years later, we are thriving!! The store is half modern toys, half vintage toys. We carry everything from Nerf, Funko , Marvel Legends and LOLs to 1970s-1980s lines like GI Joe, He-Man, Transformers and of course Star Wars! We have thousands of toys from $2 to $10,000 and everything in between and we’ll actually be on the Amazon Prime series A Toy Store Near You!! It’s been crazy. We are a healthy company with solid earnings and decent margins for a small business in a tight industry. We continue to grow and we ensure that anyone walks has a good time." 

P.S. It turns out Ginger, the woman who messaged me, is John's wife. Isn't that sweet and supportive? John thinks so too, when he wrote me he said "I’m still a little surprised Ginger did this (I shouldn’t be, she’s been very supportive of this insane idea)."

Imperial Castle
Imperial Castle
loading...

I'm a sucker for stories like this one. Also toys, I'm a sucker for toys. If I was told the same story, but it was a muffin store, I'd care a lot less. Yes, I said muffin store instead of bakery.

The Imperial Castle is located at 33 East Main Street in Pawling, NY.

Former Brewster Bar Now a Popular Gourmet Bakery Called 'General Bakeshop'

Back in April of 2021, I noticed some signs of life in a building I, and so many other Brewster people are familiar with. Construction was underway at a former bar known as “Norm’s.” Right around that time, I wrote an article about the bar’s history and looked forward to see what would come of the space. The building recently began it’s new chapter and I had to go down and check out the new General Bakeshop to see how the work came out and how the food was. 

A Curious Excursion in an Underground Brookfield Tunnel

Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend of mine, I told this person I'd accessed some caves and tunnels in my hometown of Brewster, NY which is just over the NY/CT State Line. He knows how much I love local history, and saw how excited I was about this journey. He told me there was an area of Brookfield, CT that I needed to see, one that most residents have never seen. He told me about a tunnel, one that was not far away from where we were sitting. I made note of the conversation and bookmarked the destination for a future trip. 

Nuclear Lake in Pawling, NY Has an Explosive History

Nuclear Lake is not just a clever name, it's a literal one. Tucked away in the woods of Pawling, NY, once sat a secret research facility. On the shores of the 55 acre body of water, were labs conducting experiments, using uranium and plutonium. The Lake can be accessed by anyone walking the Appalachian Trail in Dutchess County, but should it?