A Hobbyist Haven


Tim Alexander, Guest Writer


Central Illinois is a haven for both old-school and new “gamers” and collectors whose idea of a great day includes whiling away several hours in pursuit of rare and elusive sports cards, comic books, action figures or games. Or maybe you’re into radio-controlled vehicles, old coins or plastic you-build models?

Whatever the case, the Greater Peoria area is home to a wealth of small, mom and pop-owned collectibles and hobby stores operated by knowledgeable hobbyists and gamers. Here are a dozen of the best shops in the area (call or go online for hours of operation):

ACME Comics + Books   {Peoria}

Bob Gordon’s popular shop, opened in 1991, stocks thousands upon thousands of vintage comic books, action figures, toys, records, CDs, DVDs and more. “80s and 90s action figures such as Star Wars, He-Man, Power Rangers, Transformers and G.I. Joe are still in demand,” said Gordon, who also buys and trades vintage toys and comics from the public.

Baseball Card City   {Peoria}

Established by Randy and Tammy Conlee as a haven for baseball card collectors, the couple’s shop has evolved to stock collectibles such as Pokeman, Marvel Universe, Cabbage Patch and Star Wars items. “When we opened in 1989, everyone was into baseball cards. The rest came along later,” said Tammy. “Through bad economies and baseball strikes, we are still here!”

Cabbages + Kings Games   {Peoria Heights}

Located in Heritage Square and owned by Dan Crawford, Cabbages and Kings offers all of the new and in-demand role playing and standard board games, along with toys and comics. Online ordering is also available.

CRC Hobbies   {East Peoria}

Owned and operated by the father-son team of David and Michael Spurlock, CRC Hobbies specializes in remote controlled (RC) cars, boats, planes and accessories. They also offer parts and service for the products they sell, while offering customers and RC clubs the chance to run their vehicles on one of three indoor tracks.

Just For Fun Games   {Peoria}

Check out Just For Fun Games for collectible and standard board + card games, role playing games, game miniatures, jigsaw puzzles, plastic models and paints. Several plastic model and gaming clubs consider this shop home base, and are always welcoming to new game enthusiasts and members.

Sportscard Center   {Creve Coeur}

Greg Dobson has operated this Creve Coeur hobbyist’s paradise for around 30 years, specializing in new and vintage sports cards and collectibles, along with game card staples such as Pokemon, Majik! The Gathering, Funko-pops and more. “This kind of store endures because people can walk in, touch and hold items to ensure they are getting what they pay for,” said Dobson.

Wendy’s Creative Collections + Coins   {Peoria}

Wendy’s Creative Collections + Coins is the area’s leading coin shop serving Peoria and surrounding counties since 1999. Wendy and her expert staff buy and sell locally, regionally and nationally, giving their customers access to broad markets and competitive pricing. Wendy’s also buys, sells and trades sports cards and memorabilia, among other items.

Zeek’s Comics + Games  {Washington}

Special club and theme nights are regularly scheduled at this Tazewell County go-to for gamers and collectors, where comics and gaming are done “The Zeek’s Way.” Opened in 2015, Zeek’s specializes in new comics, miniature wargaming, role playing games, card games and more.

The Zone   {Pekin + Peoria} {Northwoods Mall + The Shoppes at Grand Prairie}

Scott Au has expanded his operations since 1994 to include three locations in Greater Peoria. See Scott for role playing games, game cards, posters, toys, Dungeons and Dragons items, trade paperbacks, and more. Now in demand: the Disney collectible card game Lorcann. “It was short-printed and we can’t keep it in stock,” said Au.

Tim Alexander,  Guest Writer
Tim Alexander, Guest Writer

Tim is a freelance writer and long-time Peoria resident. His passion for the Greater Peoria Area is evident through his volunteer work, photography, ag + news reporting, and hometown foodie recommendations! You may recognize Tim as a correspondent for WCBU and WGLT and as a reporter with the Chronicle Media Illinois.

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