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From the Publisher's Desk – Local store addicting to many (Aug. 19, 2015 issue)

“You can’t hold on to it forever. You have to let go of it and make someone else happy. There is always something that someone is looking for.” That was the analogy Brian Whitson had when he sold his collection of comics and figures that he had collected from childhood. Brian then turned that money into his current business Fiction Addiction.
Brian has lived in Erwin all of his life and says he has always been a big kid at heart and that this avenue has always been big fun for him. He started collecting as far back as 1982, when the hot items were He-Man, Transformers, GI Joe, Masters of the Universe and Star Wars.
“I’ve always had a fascination with toys,” he said. “But, the toys of today are so different. The really good stuff out there now is so expensive. You almost have to have a second job to collect.”
Today Brian carries pop figures, SH Figure Arts, Play Arts, Marvel Selects, DC Figures, comic books and more. “I have to know what you like and then I can take care of you,” he said. I cater to your interests and help you with the experience.”
“I try to carry unique items,” he said. “I want you to have an experience when you come in this shop.”
People of various occupations and various ages find interest in collecting the items found at Fiction Addiction. There are items to feature almost any interest or movie both present and past.
The business has also been a popular gathering place for many young people in the county. Brian allows them to play video games and interacts with them to offer support and advice when needed or asked. While I was visiting his shop last week, one of the young guys asked Brian if he would write him a letter of recommendation for a job and he said he would be glad to.
Brian said this wasn’t the first time he had assisted. He said that he gets to know a lot of local businesses and can help point these youth to places for jobs. “If I help them find jobs they have money to buy the items they want,” he said. “It helps us both.” Brian also offers them layaway so they can learn responsibility to attain products they want.
“My job here is to make people happy,” he said. Brian said he makes his items affordable unlike some similar stores in the area. “I am not here to taunt you that I have it and you don’t.”
He opened his store on Gay Street almost two years ago and has since gotten quite a following. “The majority of my customers are from out of town,” Brian said. “But I have a lot of good customers here.” He does shows in other areas where collectors learn of him and then come by his shop if they are nearby. Many come in and tell him what he has here is what is needed in their town, but he wants to be in Erwin.
Brian has started “game nights” on Friday and Saturday. He offers free video play and is currently having Yu-Gi-Oh card play. His approach is different than most. “Rather than have somebody who is better than the others come in here and win every time, I am having the good players give advice and help to the others so they can be better.”
He is considering table top games in the near future on Sundays.
Whether you are a young kid ora big kid at heart, Fiction Addiction has something for everyone
Now, If you are like me, you may feel somewhat out of the loop. While visiting, I still saw many items that I was amazed at and recognized from my childhood or through today’s movie and TV industry. I recommend you stop by just to look around and appreciate that Erwin has something so unique, offering items sought after by many collectors. It brings a diversity to the town that not all areas have. And, in so doing, brings tourists to town just for that rare find. While here, they discover Erwin has even more to offer.
It is a far cry from my early years of entering a newsstand on Union Street to pick up the latest Spider Man and Archie comic books every Friday. Mine was a simple collection, but one I enjoyed immensely.
I have gone to Fiction Addiction several times with my friend and co-worker Keeli Parkey. She has a fascinating collection in her Erwin Record office of various characters. It always makes gift buying easy when someone has a joy for collecting and you can give something they continue to cherish.
Entering the store is like entering a land of fascination. Action figures of heroes and the bad guys are perched on shelves. Sounds of “Wow, when did you get this in?” can be heard by shoppers.
Brian said many get into collecting more than one set and they can’t wait for the newest piece to come out. “Once you are into it, you just can’t do without a piece,” he said. “That’s why I think in some ways it is an addiction. That’s why I named my store what I did – Fiction Addiction.”