A couple weeks back, I reported that Tucson’s Lulubell Toy Bodega, a store specializing in designer vinyl collectibles and gallery pieces, was setting up shop in downtown Mesa and planning to make the 128 W. Main St. address its company headquarters when it opens in mid-November.
Trying to catch up with owner Amy Del Castillo to get more details has been a challenge, not least because she and her crew had their hands full preparing to make a splash at this past weekend’s New York Comic Con.
Lulubell employs just three staff members in addition to Del Castillo and her business partner Luke Rook, a Tucson native who now lives in Tokyo — putting the company at ground zero for toy culture and collectible couture. Del Castillo says many of the toy lines they import can’t be found at any other U.S. shops.
But it’s not all imports: Cherry Vinyl, a division of Lulubell, produces “delicious art toys” along with Los Angeles designer Julie B. of Pretty in Plastic. And Rook designs his own line of toys called Grody Shogun that consistently sell out on release day. (Pictured: the Grody Shogun “Monster” series in a sherbet color scheme.)
Del Castillo said they chose downtown Mesa for their expansion due to the explosion of small independent businesses taking root there and the eclectic events they spark.
“We love giving back to the community that gives so much to us by hosting various art events, and bringing in items you otherwise cannot find in the U.S.,” she said. “So downtown Mesa seemed to be the perfect environment for us, and we hope to add to and promote to the already growing scene of the area.”