From Harvard librarian to hometown heroes: the story of Pop’s!
Pop’s Culture Shoppe, on Main Street in Wellsboro, provides a unique atmosphere and inventory. The space offers games, books, comics, puzzles, toys, etc., and hosts popular game nights and tournaments for the public. Pop’s fills a previously vacant niche in the local community, giving a distinct retail and social experience. Appropriately enough, the road that Julian Stam journeyed to become the owner of the store was unique, as well.
While he was growing up, Julian enjoyed sports and games of any kind (including board games). Due to moving multiple times, he developed the ability to make friends quickly and be sociable. All of this would benefit Julian greatly in his future business model, but there would be a few professional decisions and opportunities that would happen before Pop’s came to be.
Unsure of which career path to take during his college years, Julian devoted several semesters to studying Accounting. Eventually, he decided that this was not the future for him, and redirected to majoring in English. This led him to a library job in New York City, where he worked in the media center. This department of the library delivered films, and rented out CD’s and music. After six months in the media center, Julian was afforded the opportunity to work in the main branch of the New York Public Library, in the preservation department. His love for this position convinced Julian to pursue a library degree, which he received from the University of Michigan. His combined qualifications made him eligible to become the Boston College Preservation Librarian. His hard work and sequential choices had achieved for him a fantastic position!
Though the Boston College job was amazing, there were some drawbacks that presented themselves, as time went on. Julian’s commute to work was less than ideal, involving over an hour of Boston traffic each way! In addition to the inconvenience, the time involved in work and transportation was hindering his time with his daughters. Julian recounts a time when he made it to his daughter’s softball game as fast as he could, only to arrive in time to see the last fly ball before the game was over. He explains, “So, I saw one out from the parking lot, and just realized that I was missing my kids growing up.” During this time, Julian and his family started to seriously consider a different location, and way of life.
Julian and his wife, Anja, had previously visited friends in the Liberty area, and decided to do some exploring as a family. Upon discovering Wellsboro, the Stam’s felt a sense of comfort, and after looking at a few houses, ultimately chose to make Wellsboro their new home. Their family appreciates having outdoor past-times readily available, as well as the variety of activities and causes one can be a part of in a smaller community.
At the time that the Stam’s moved from Boston, Julian had kept a side hobby of selling comic books at conventions. In addition, the family had an online business, Woolverine Games, for selling (mostly) trading cards and figurines. Shortly after relocating to Wellsboro, the Stam’s began hosting game nights that received great turnouts. The family saw the desire within the community for more extracurricular and social options, so, when the opportunity presented itself, they decided to expand in to a full retail location. Now, Pop’s Culture Shoppe has been a thriving member of the community for 6 years!
Be sure to stop in at Pop’s Culture Shoppe to check out the fun finds and play a game or two! Located at: 25 Main Street, Wellsboro. Check out their website here!
Idea/Concept: Sara Vogt
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Amiee Jones
Anchor: Johanna Vogt
Correspondent: Sara Vogt
Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by Pop’s Culture Shoppe, Akiko’s Floral Arts