Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The IJB Finds Nerdvana

When your kid hits a certain age you begin to wonder what exactly it will take to drag them out of the basement. I remember a lot about being a teen, but I forgot about the inertia that sets in at about the age of 15, when many teens develop a strong attachment to the sofa in the basement and cannot be pried away from it other than for things like school and the occasional shower. I certainly didn't expect to become the caretaker of my own basement dweller, but it has happened as the Intrepid Junior Blogger has, over the last few months, developed a serious case of basement-dweller-itis.

Now, to give her some credit, part of it is because of her increased work load due to her Advanced Placement classes. But this, combined with cold weather and the onset of teenage inertia, have led to a situation where one needs a crowbar to pry her out of the basement - or at least a very large enticement. I have found one recently, though, as the IJB and I made a visit to a new local retail outlet and she was impressed enough to suggest weekly visits (meaning weekly trips out of the basement!) might be in order. The store in question? Nerdvana.

Now, I must admit that the IJB has some pretty obscure interests. As she says "she lives on the internet", and she is a self-described "nerd", loving nothing more than superheroes, episodes of Dr. Who (both recent and very old) and books that are the shape and size of door stops (she has read the entire Game of Thrones series - twice). Her room (and to be honest the family room in the basement which she has taken over) are filled with paraphernalia related to her interests, ranging from posters to figurines, and her wardrobe consists almost entirely of t-shirts which are mostly inexplicable to people like me - which is probably why Nerdvana, a store of comics, hobbies and collectibles, has caught her fancy so easily.

Nerdvana is a business adventure launched by some local young residents who have undoubtedly taken a risk to fill a niche market in our community. This little store is jam-packed with every kind of pop culture trinket and item, from comics to collectible figurines. There is something for everyone (even I am drawn to some of the items, including the superhero drinking mugs) and there is most certainly more than one thing for people like the IJB, who left the store on her first visit with her arms loaded down with a Dire Wolf stuffy, a Game of Thrones card deck, an Assassins Creed figurine and a string of Tardis lights. She actually chuckled as she left, practically rubbing her hands with glee at her haul of goods, things she would normally be buying online (leaving her mother to pay things like custom and duties, of course).

As I followed her around I began making mental notes of items I was going back to pick up for Christmas for her (and ok, even a couple of things for me). I noted the store was hopping, too, with several customers who had the same sort of expression on their face as the IJB. The store might be called "Nerdvana" but it is clearly a form of Nirvana for pop culture types like the IJB, who pronounced something astonishing on the way home.

"I think we should go back every week," she said.

"Uh, you will have to get off the sofa," I said. "And get dressed," looking at her with some degree of skepticism as these things often seem a bit beyond her these days.

She was grinning as she replied, staring out the window. "It's worth it to go to Nerdvana."

And so I found out how one gets a teen off the sofa and out of the basement. All it takes is a little store stocked by people who understand the niche market they are filling, who take the leap of faith to pay the rent, buy the stock and hire the staff, and who put out an "open" sign, welcoming in people like the IJB. It might have been her first visit to Nerdvana, but it almost certainly won't be our last, as evidenced by her final comment on the ride home.

A long sigh, followed by: "I should have gotten the other Dire Wolf. Next time, I guess." And so next time it will be.

You can find Nerdvana at
8318 Fraser Avenue,
follow them on Twitter
and on Facebook at

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