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Reel Art Debuts

Ephemera, nostalgia on display at Cory Glaberson's new Berwyn store.

Some people trade in soybean futures or work in factories. Others analyze spreadsheets or stare at laptops.  

Cory Glaberson deals in pop culture. Swims in it, really. 

The 54-year-old Oak Parker is about to open Reel Art, a pop culture emporium packed with toys, figurines, comics, games, soundtracks, movie posters and so much more. 

"It's a lot of fun working with this material," said Glaberson.

Glaberson has been collecting, and buying other people's collections, for decades. His business, Reel Art, was started in 1992 as a mail order catalog and moveable feast of ephemera from one collector's show to the next. There's also an eBay store. 

Now, with the debut of the new brick-and-mortar store at 6727 W. Stanley in Berwyn, the collections have a new home.

The 6,400 square-foot space is divided into two sections — the front is the retail store, filled with shelving and racks full of collectibles. The displays, it's worth noting, are on wheels. Glaberson envisions moving them around to accomodate author and actor appearances and to host screenings of rare cult films. 

The back half of the old moving van warehouse is where the bulk of Reel Art's collections reside. (It's been moved from his other warehouse in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. More items are stored in a Kansas City warehouse.) It's where Glaberson and Reel Art's two full-time employees Robert Garcia and Dan Kozik traffic in thousands of boxes brimming with some 350,000 movie posters. Check out some of the collection here. 

"Theoretically, we know what's on the shelves," Glaberson said. "I get lost sometimes." 

As we're walking down one of the warehouse's main aisles, Glaberson hops to attention. There's a recent arrival — boxes scrawled with Japanese lettering full of Godzilla posters and toys, which could prove lucrative for the upcoming G-Fest, when more than 1,000 Godzilla enthusiasts from across the world will arrive in Rosemont to celebrate the popular monster. 

There's a special spot for bad purchases Glaberson likes to call the "wall of mistakes." It's what happens when collectibles are your life's work. 

Back in the front of the store, Glaberson wanders to an office and returns with a stack of ultra-rare Spider Man and Fanstastic Four comic books, destined for sale to some lucky comic geek. He placed those comics atop a glass counter containing all manner of Davy Crockett bric a brac, then launched into his theory that collecting and curating really is a form of art, whether it's Star Trek curios or comething from the vast universe of The Simpsons. 

Sure, it's a sales pitch. But it's also genuine. 

"All collectors have that artistic ability, that desire and I just love helping them create a collection worthy of their own artistic needs," he said. 

Reel Art, 6727 W. Stanley Ave. in Berwyn, will be open later this month. For inquiries, call (708) 288-7378 or visit reelart.biz. Have something you'd like sell? Contact Cory Glaberson by emailing cglaberson@reelart.biz. Reel Art will also be participating in Berwyn's Music, Art and Vintage Festival, scheduled for July 22 from noon-7 p.m.

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