Collectors Expo offers vendors of all trades

HARLINGEN — Local business owner Viola Garza knows everybody. But not everybody knows she went from selling Chick-fil-A sandwiches to selling toys full time.

For more than seven years, Garza and her business partner Jaime Cruz have been selling lots and lots of toys together.

J & V Toys Games and More at 1005 Harrison Ave. in Harlingen will be hosting its monthly Collectors Expo on Sunday at the Casa del Sol event center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The expo is back again for another fun-filled event. Collectibles of all kinds and vendors from all across the Valley will fill up to 52 tables with items to buy, sell and trade.

Superman, Darth Vader, Super Mario and many more popular figures could be in attendance.

Sunday’s event also will have a comic costume competition and feature a Hot Wheels race car event.

Races are $1 to race and winners receive a prize.

Garza, the event organizer, said the first 100 people in attendance will receive a goody bag and there will be door prizes throughout the day.

Garza has been organizing the Collectors Expo for more than two years to draw more vendors with rare and in-demand toys to Harlingen monthly.

For many collectors the monthly event is becoming the go-to place to connect with area collectors for buying, selling and trading some of the entertainment industry’s coolest items.

“It’s really good and by the time people come out they are collecting something new,” she said. “The event will have a lot of new and old collectible items.”

Theses events are no joke. They have cool toys priced as low as $5 and as high as $500 and more, depending on the item.

Brownsville resident Ivan Davila has been shopping at Garza’s store for more than six months.

“This is the one place I can get toys I want to see before I buy on Amazon,” Davila said.

He said he comes in because they have awesome stuff for sale in original packaging.

“I came here and checked it out, and was like, oh wow,” Davila said.

He said, unfortunately, he doesn’t bring his son because he would fall in love with so many toys and could put him in a predicament to buy him a very expensive toy.

Garza got her start selling toys seven years ago and now she is known statewide for it.

Just as the ring chose Hal Jordan in the story of the Green Lantern, toys chose Garza after she left Chick-fil-A when the restaurant moved out of the mall.

She invested in selling mobile phone service, but it didn’t work out.

She didn’t know what to do with a storefront location and no phones to sell.

Her business partner, Cruz, said. “Viola, lets sell toys.” The words that came out of her mouth after the suggestion were, “What? You have to be kidding me!”

So he took her to a garage and opened it up.

He had been collecting and storing toys for a long time. So they cleaned them up and gave it a shot.

She said in the last seven years they have had to relocate J&V Toys and More three times because they kept outgrowing their stores.

“We might have to get a bigger place than this because we have so much,” she said.