Years of hoarding records, posters and stickers from the ‘50s, ‘60s and today paid off when the coronavirus shut down the country. As an events coordinator, St. Petersburg’s Ronnie Lee suddenly found himself unemployed. Glancing through his garage, he got an idea: To make some money, he’d share his collection of pop culture paraphernalia in mystery box doses.
Anyone can order the $30 mystery box, full of an array of treasures, possibly including a License to Kill movie poster, a Cirque du Soleil DVD, vintage video games, stickers, old magazines, clothing and vinyl records.
“More than 20 years of pop culture was being stored in my garage,” Lee said. “I saw people selling mystery boxes on eBay and decided to share my collection.”
With COVID-19 darkening the mood, he thought pop culture mystery boxes might add some fun to life. He created an online store at downtownpete.com.
“I think it’s exciting for people to get something in the mail that they have no idea what’s inside the box,” he said. “We need more positive vibes in our world right now.”
Each box is spontaneously assembled as Lee walks through his garage. He tries to keep it light and fun.
“If I know the person, I will customize it for them. But honestly, I just walk up and down the aisles of our warehouse and pick out stuff that will be funny or random,” he said.
Items found in the boxes typically represent the 1970s to the 2000s but can date back as far as the ‘40s. Popular items are stickers, magazines, buttons and vinyl records. Lee said he even includes items you see on his website to increase the value of the box.
“I always try to put things in that will make people laugh, but I want them to get their money’s worth,” he said.
The online store carries higher-end items such as original British rock and roll collectibles.
“I was stationed in England when I was in the Air Force, so we have some British items,” he said. “We also have a lot of random items because when we were doing events, the themes could be anything from pirate to ’80s to a wedding.”
What’s the most bizarre item he has shipped in a mystery box?
“A red flapper dress and pink boa for one of my male friends,” he said. “I’m sure he loved that.”
Mystery boxes are $30 each and include shipping. To order, go to downtownpete.com and click on the mystery box option.