ADULTS were children once too, and one thing the COVID-19 lockdown has taught us, there's plenty of fun and games to be had with things that perhaps we haven't looked at in more than 20 years.
While it's been a tough few months for many Ballarat retailers, one area which has seen a growth is the city's toys and hobby stores.
And it's not just the kids that are buying up, for many adults, the opportunity to relive their childhood has been a way to pass the long days at home.
One retailer which has seen a surge is Toyland in Wendouree.
Owner Dan Gordon said there had been a huge surge in hobbies including puzzles, model cars and trucks and Lego.
'We've seen a huge increase in our puzzles, we've gone through in six months what we would normally go through in a year," Mr Gordon said.
"We've also done a lot building set models, model cars, trucks, things like glue and paints and it's mostly been adults.
"Especially with Harper's Hobbies closing down at the start of the year, a lot have been coming to us instead."
Mr Gordon said Lego was always popular, but had run into stock difficulties due to a website hack which was one of a string of reasons stock had been low. "Just this morning I've rung up as I'd ordered and paid for a shipment four weeks ago and it still hasn't arrived. What we're seeing is a lot of the imported items from the US have been turned around and put in the US market as they are experiencing the same thing we are," he said.
"We also get shipments from Germany which have been held up, and New Zealand isn't exporting either. They are our three biggest areas, we don't actually get a lot from China."
The nearby Toyworld has also been surprised at the amount of adults coming through its doors for items such as Lego and board games.
"We stock the Ravensburger puzzles and we're basically sold out of those," a Toyworld spokesperson said.
"Lego has also been huge and it's all types from the younger collections right up to the bigger, more complex models."
Another hobby which is taking off again is swap card collecting, which many are putting down to the recent 'Last Dance' documentary series focusing on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.
It has been reported that prices for Jordan cards, primarily his basketball cards, but also on his attempt to play baseball, have skyrocketed on the back of the documentary series. At Melbourne retailer Cherry Collectables, a Michael Jordan rookie card can fetch $15,000.
It has translated to other sporting codes with interest high for people who were children in the 1980s and 1990s, now showing their own children their collections.
Ballarat AFL store franchiser Phillip Knowles said the card business had been steady right through the pandemic period, but other AFL merchandise had fallen away to almost nothing.
"At the end of the day, you can't go to games, so people aren't buying their team colours to wear," he said.
"But the cards, we've seen a steady stream. It's been going like that for a few years actually. We see a lot of adults and parents buying full boxes now, which is much better if you want to collect a set.
"There's the four sets that come out each year and one is more tailored to children, the others are very much for the collector.
"It's been difficult when people say to head online to buy things. Buying online doesn't keep people in jobs."
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