AJ Jimenez, at only 21 years old, has already set a list of goals he wants to accomplish in his life.
The Gilroy native has checked one of the boxes, having opened his own business, Collectables N’ Stuff, in the Gilroy Premium Outlets more than two years ago.
He also dreams of purchasing his own home, as well as a “super nice car,” preferably a Lamborghini.
And now, Jimenez is able to check off something else on his bucket list: get an article about his business in the newspaper.
As a high schooler, Jimenez got a job at Icicles in Gilroy, and got inspired when a reporter from the Dispatch visited to write a story on the new business in late 2017.
“I thought, that would be so cool to one day be able to get my own story on my business,” he said.
Jimenez owns Collectables N’ Stuff, running it with a team of 10. The 1,000-square-foot store in a corner of the outlets is packed floor-to-ceiling with Funko Pops, which are small figurines of pop culture characters from seemingly every era of history.
The store is also stocked with the latest, and rarest sports cards and collectibles, as well as countless Pokemon items for collectors trying to catch ‘em all.
The last few years has seen the collectibles industry go “nuts,” Jimenez said, so much so that Collectables N’ Stuff is expanding its footprint to keep up with demand.
In June, Collectables N’ Stuff opened a new location at the Westfield Oakridge mall in San Jose, and next year, Jimenez plans to open another larger store in Las Vegas, which he says will house 25,000 Funko Pops.
Later in July, Collectables N’ Stuff will have a booth at the 42nd annual National Sports Collectors Convention in New Jersey, hailed as the premier collectibles showcase event in the country.
Jimenez said he was drawn into the world of collecting around 15 years old, when he would watch YouTube influencers find success in the industry. He started gathering sneakers, sports cards, Funko Pops and more, participating in conventions with other like-minded individuals who mentored him in the oft-complicated art of collecting.
He earned a degree in systems management at Cal Poly, but while he enjoyed the subject, “I just didn’t see a clear road with it.”
“It is a super competitive industry,” Jimenez said. “I just thought doing something I was passionate about seemed more suitable for me.”
Collectables N’ Stuff was born at the height of the pandemic in late 2020, and grew its followers by interacting with customers through social media.
The passion for collecting can be found in all generations, Jimenez said. He noted the business will have many youngsters waiting outside for the store to open when a new pack of cards has launched, and also has a large customer base of older generations who stop by for the nostalgia.
The store also holds frequent signing events featuring notable industry veterans.
Collectables N’ Stuff is located at 681 Leavesley Road C180 in the Gilroy Premium Outlets. It is open daily. For information, visit collectablesnstuff.com.