Going on four years, Fourth Avenue’s Generation Cool continues to feed on customers’ nostalgia by selling vintage goods
Story and photos by ARMANDO HARMON
As you get older, sometimes you forget how it feels to be a kid. Everyone has had that special toy, or those pair of sneakers you saved months and months of allowance to buy. Getting your hands on something like that could bring back a lot of great memories.
Tucson’s historic Fourth Avenue has a shop — Generation Cool — that allows everyone to have that nolgastic feeling once again.
Robert Hall, aka “Slobby Robby,” founded Generation Cool in December 2013.
The shop allows the public to buy, sell or even trade any vintage items. This can include sportswear, shoes, designer wear and Hall’s favorite, toys.
“I was obsessed with toys, sneakers and collectables, and it’s my life dream to share that with everyone else,” Hall said. “I wanted to do something fun that doesn’t feel like a job.”
There are many vintage shops around the world, but what makes Generation Cool stand out is the focus on toys and collectibles.
Around the store, there are items that kids and older people would enjoy. Most items tend to span across many generations. The prices of the collectibles and toys only depend on how rare it is.
Every day is different day when it comes to customers, some days there are the regulars that enjoy each visit and many newcomers.
“As I was walking this store caught my eye, the store surprised me because this all looks like everything has been collected and hopefully I can leave today with some tennis shoes,” said first-time customer Chris Alvarez.
“Just because someone isn’t into sneakers or streetwear, we don’t want them to feel alienated from the experience and nostalgia.”
– Slobby Robby
“Just because someone isn’t into sneakers or streetwear, we don’t want them to feel alienated from the experience and nostalgia,” Hall said.
The Generation Cool crew has traveled to flea markets from across the country. Hall collects “hidden gems,” or what he describes as rare outstanding items.
Customers also play a big part for Generation Cool’s success. Every day, people come in to sell or buy gems of their own.
In February, the crew took part in The Agenda Show, a lifestyle fashion trade show in Las Vegas, and later in the year at Long Beach, California. Many fashion shops worldwide gather for a giant convention for the public to explore different businesses and shop.
“It’s been a trip being able to travel, it’s a blessing working here and I enjoy it.” said Generation Cool employee, Manny Gomez.
These last couple of months have been very busy for Hall and the Generation Cool crew. They just finished a TV project that is going to come out on an Internet TV network and possibly feed onto a cable TV network.
The project is a reality show that is about the shop, Hall’s life and how he goes about collecting items, traveling, shopping and eating. The show should be airing in the first quarter of 2018.
“Generation Cool isn’t just a place to go shopping; it can be an artist experience with all nostalgic flow,” Hall said.
About a year ago, Generation Cool was an arcade store as well. Hall expanded the store, getting rid of the arcades and adding more space for clothing and toys.
Hall is a Tucson native, a third-generation graduate from Tucson Magnet High School and at University of Arizona alumnus.
“Running a store two blocks away from my old school makes me happy,” Hall said. “We got really cool stuff here, and I’m proud of all of our hard work.”