Reviews & Press
Nestled less than an hour away in Cleveland Heights on Coventry Road, Big Fun Toy Store couldn’t have been more appropriately named. Upon entry into Big Fun, customers are transported in a nostalgic time machine back to their childhood.
With the multitude of inventory Big Fun has to offer, you could find yourself spending hours there remembering all the escapades you got into with your Care Bears as a kid.
Big Fun not only carries new and vintage toys, but also birthday cards, band T-shirts, stickers, old school candy and knickknacks that are sure to bring about a reminiscent reaction.
If you have half a tank of gas and half a day to spare, Big Fun is a nostalgic adventure worth checking out.
Do you remember playing with G.I. Joes when you were little? How about Treasure Trolls? Lite Brite? Did you ever play with your Rainbow Brite or Teddy Ruxpin while munching on fruity wax soda bottles, candy buttons or candy cigarettes (before they had their name changed to “candy sticks”)? If these kinds of things bring back rushing memories of your childhood, you’ll be thrilled to take a trip down memory lane at Cleveland’s Big Fun Toy Store.
Named by Playboy as one of the “coolest stores” in all of America, Big Fun has two area locations: the original location on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, and a west side location on Clifton Boulevard. Locally-owned and operated, Big Fun provides an experience that you just can’t get at other local toy stores. Whether you were born in the 30s or the 90s (or even yesterday), you’ll find something at Big Fun that you didn’t know you couldn’t live without.
Opened in 1990 by owner Steve Presser, Big Fun has been a true Cleveland icon since its humble beginning. When one thinks of Coventry, it goes without saying that they also envision the familiar colorful block lettering of the Big Fun storefront and the memories that come along with it.
The goofy nostalgia at this jam-packed vintage toy bazaar is infectious. Whether you’re in search of a gag gift like Chinese finger traps or a device that catapults plastic nuns, or you’re a serious collector on the hunt for vintage Transformers toys or Pee Wee Herman trading cards, Big Fun’s got it all. Bonus points for the endless G.I. Joe tchotckes and old Intellivision game consoles. And don’t miss the Elvis shrine.
Pointing out reasons why people don’t need to cross the Cuyahoga River isn’t our thing. We battle our city’s East Side/West Side divide as much as anyone. But sometimes an idea is too good to be corralled on one side of town. The opening of a West Side Big Fun was one of those instances. The retro toy store is a Cleveland Heights landmark, and its second location along Clifton Boulevard is a spot-on, albeit smaller, version of its namesake. Everything you love about the original is here: vintage Star Wars figures, old-school video game consoles and the big wooden library card catalog packed with quirky trinkets. (We also dug the fresh touch of using offbeat board games as floor tiles.) Soon, the West Side will be returning the favor with its own export.
My husband and I had read about this toy store in a local newspaper and thought it would be fun to see it sometime. It took a while, but we finally decided to make the trek to Cleveland Heights from our rural homestead
in Geauga County (realistically, it’s only a 40 minute drive or so). As soon we walked in the door to Big Fun Toy Store we were transported back to childhood. The smiles hit our faces in the first few seconds and did not leave for days afterwards.
Walking through the store I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. I could not believe it, an authentic Partridge Family lunch box with David Cassidy on the front. My heart fluttered as I remembered the crush I had on him when I was a kid. How could I have forgotten my first true love. The memories, and the joy they bring is what you get at Big Fun Toy Store. Best of all the memories are free of charge!
Big Fun is one of the many interesting stores that can be found in Coventy. Although many people may hear the name Big Fun and think that because it is a toy store, it is probably a very childish store, this is far from the truth. Big Fun has collectable items from as far back as the 1930’s, making the store enjoyable for people of all ages. Big Fun is packed with gags, jokes, greeting cards, candy, and unique gifts from wall to wall. Big Fun is able to get so many unique items because of the fact that the store buys old toys and items, so a huge array of items can be found at Big Fun. Some interesting items that I found at Big Fun included old Life Magazines from the 60’s and 70’s, and old album covers of singers such as Elvis Presley and Bob Marleyl. Whether you are five or fifty, Big Fun has something for everyone.
Big Fun VOTED CLEVELAND’S BEST TOY STORE [….] year after year. Specializing in Kid’s and baby gifts,custom t-shirts,fun books and much,much more. Expect movie, TV and cartoon character merchandise: Austin Powers, Yellow Submarine, Pez, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Godzilla, Mr. T., Ren and Stimpy, Pee Wee Herman, Three Stooges and KISS. There are school lunchboxes, model kits, action figures, and more magnets than you can shake a refrigerator at. There’s also old, weird board games and obscure movie, TV and cartoon tie-ins you thought you’d never see again . The store sits on Coventry, long considered the heart of Cleveland’s counterculture, from the hippie-era and onwards. Imagine piles of toys up to (and on) the ceiling—new, used and nostalgic. They buy and sell—but only as long as goods amply register on the “cool meter” of founder Steve Presser.
Big fun, indeed! I don’t know how long we stayed in here, but it was just so hard to leave! I loved perusing the aisles upon aisles of stuff—from political paper dolls, to gag gifts from my childhood (fake snakes that pop out of mixed nut cans anyone?) to Jesus action figures. Truly, one of the very best toy stores i have ever been to!
What do “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” The Raisinettes, My Little Pony and Star Wars have in common?
The answer: Coventry’s widely known circus of a store: Big Fun.
Who could ask for more, but for a store full of retro toys and funny gags? The funky shop caters to the young and the old with an overwhelmingly large assortment items like plastic roaches, fake mustaches, farting putty and affordable figurines and collectibles.
Big Fun is truly one of Cleveland’s most cherished local businesses. Providing toys, collectibles and other novelties from past generations, Steve Presser (owner and operator of Big Fun) not only has a deep passion for his products but also for his community.
Steve, a Cleveland Heights native and former stock broker, started Big Fun 17 years ago. When asked about how Big Fun got started, Steve explained that he had always been a collector. Steve was a well-known garage sale junkie with a particular interest in pop culture oddities.
If you collect anything from by gone times then this is the place to check out. The real collectibles are under glass, but the reproductions are out where you can search through them [….] just like when you were younger and mom took you to the dime store. Lots of things to choose from [….] lunch boxes, star wars, barbie dolls, gi joe. Remember the toys from the cereal boxes, the dish towels from the detergent companies [….] take a trip down memory lane with a visit to Big Fun. Price from reasonable to thousands.
Big Fun is hands-down the most fun one in Cleveland can have in terms of a shopping experience and toy collectors would do themselves an immense disservice by passing up a journey to the shop. No, Big Fun is not as cheap as eBay but what is? What you will find at Big Fun is the best selection of vintage toys in one of the very few remaining brick-and-mortar collectibles toys stores remaining in this country. From Star Wars, GI-Joe, Thundercats, He-Man, and Strawberry Shortcake to even obscure toy lines such as Crystar and Warlords, these folks know their business like nobody else.
The people working there are frickin’ encyclopedias on collectible toys and fun to chat with. There is also wiggle-room as far as prices are concerned with nearly every collectible in the store and I’ve been treated like nothing less than gold every time I’ve walked into the store. I challenge anyone to find any place with as comprehensive a selection of toys as Big Fun. No, they are not the cheapest but you will find are toys with the correct pieces in high-grade condition for honestly reasonable prices. Besides, with eBay shipping costs (and a bit of a mystery surrounding what you’re really getting), Big Fun is a fun and safe way to shop for old toys.