The Mingus Magic Shop in Reading, Pennsylvania, will reopen April 19th following several weeks of interior and exterior renovations. Resident magician and “shop mascot” James Stilianos will perform outside of the shop starting from 4:45pm. After a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:00pm, punters will be able to browse the shop’s new displays, many of which contain artifacts dating back to the mid-thirties, until it closes at 8:00pm. A 15% sale will be running from the grand re-opening through Saturday.
The Mingus Magic Shop was founded by magician and businessman LeRoy Mingus, in 1938. Mingus was known for his ornate “flowers” made from brightly colored feathers, which can be seen in several movies, numerous TV shows, and in magic shows around the world. The current owner, Wayne Shifflett, a former protege of the late Mingus, bought the store in 1976 and still produces the flowers (and teaches Mingus’ famous cup and ball routine) to this day.
But the Mingus Magic Shop isn’t just a place to buy supplies and learn from other magicians; it’s also a micro-venue for magic acts. At the back of the shop is the Mingus Magic Mini Vaudeville Theatre, which boasts 18 original theatre seats. The venue is active year-round, with its most notable show being the 24 Hour Magic Marathon, which features a different 15-minute magic show every half-hour for 24-hours straight. The next Magic Marathon starts at 5:00pm on May 4th, and runs until 5:00pm the following day. $5 nets you a one-time ticket that lets you stay as long as you want while a $15 ticket lets you come and go as you please.
“We get lots of late night and early morning spectators after the local bars close,” Shifflett joked to the local press.
The shop is also the subject of an upcoming documentary by Ryan Adamowicz of Barely Upright productions. The 30-minute film will be screened at the Googleworks Theatre on Sunday, May 20th, and Saturday, May 26th.
Brick and mortar magic shops are a rare breed, so when we spot a profile or video of one online, we like to share it with the world. Recently, Northwest Boomer & Senior News interviewed Dave Lemberg, owner of Dave’s Killer Magic Shop in Vancouver, WA, about how opening his store has been a “dream come true”.
Dave is a chemistry teacher at Union High School, and opened up an online magic shop as a sort of passion project of his. When he started getting requests to demonstrate tricks for local residents, he started hosting monthly get-togethers in his house. As these meetings grew in popularity, he quickly realized it was time to open up his own store.
“If you don’t have older people mentoring younger people, the art will die, so I want to get kids involved – not just a casual interest but to go on and continue the art,” he told the site. “It’s fun to get excited as a youngster, and it’s fun to get other kids into it.”
So far, the store hasn’t turned a profit, and Dave continues to use his teaching job as his main source of income. He hopes that the shop will be in a place where he can make a sustainable living off it once he retires.
“I still enjoy teaching, and that is my income,” he says. “The business is not a money-maker, and it really takes a second seat to my job teaching. We’re building the business so that when I finally do retire, there’s something there. That was the motivation.”