Father-son Castro Valley toy store moves to Hayward

Kestutis Rushing,

When people look for toys and collectibles, most turn to digital retailers such as eBay or Amazon. However, rare toys are waiting to be discovered in small toy shops. In fact, the success of small collectible shops has made an impact on companies like Amazon. The online juggernaut is planning to expand its brand by building physical stores. Meanwhile, small collectible toy shops are expanding their customer base through virtual shops.

Glenn Dockter and his son Bryan own Collector’s Row Inc., a toy shop in Castro Valley. Inside, customers enter a fantasy land of sorts filled with masks belonging to famous horror films, figures from Funko, Star Wars, Godzilla, DC and Marvel. Their online store has even more collectibles.

Due to a high demand for items, they are moving their shop to the American Avenue in Hayward this fall.

“It is an ongoing, growing process,” said Glenn.

Although Glenn and Bryan were trying to keep their new storefront a secret, they revealed some of their plans.

“We are making our own [toy] line…we have partners to help us with manufacturing,” Glenn said.  

Although his shop in Castro Valley was cramped for a toy store, Glenn explained that it was not just what was in the store that generated business.

“80 percent of our stuff is online,” said Glenn. “Lots of our popular and more expensive items are online.”

The Dockters believe because of their store’s unique items, their father-and-son shop stood out in comparison to the failing businesses around them.

The only challenge that concerned the Dockter duo was their lack of funding for outside labor. “You can’t depend on anyone else,” said Bryan.

When it comes to spending a lot of their time together, Glenn and Bryan said they get along for the most part. “Yeah, we argue, but you know why we get along? Glenn said. “We respect each other.”

They also revealed they donated to schools, were “highly involved in a chess team,” and “are a part of the community,” according to Glenn. “We are an old-fashioned, good [business, filled with] labor and love.”

Since the move, their Castro Valley shop is open on Saturdays while they move goods to the warehouse for storage. Glenn explained that customers who are familiar with their Castro Valley store will benefit when they visit the new location.

“You want to remember the ‘Underground’…It’s a spot where people can hang out, get good deals….you get treated like you’re family,” Glenn said.