New Faces and Old

For the volume of sales that we do at Coinopwarehouse, you would think that there are a lot of people behind the scenes. That could not be further from the truth!

We have had lots of changes to the team that makes up Coinopwarehouse over the past five years. The core of the company is Lloyd Thoburn and his son Benjamin. Lloyd started the business and his son, Ben, grew up loving coinop, playing in the jukeboxes at his father’s shop, and collecting wallboxes. He has been learning about coinop since he was 4 years old. I don’t think he can imagine doing anything else.

Ben Thoburn and Amanda Thoburn

Ben Thoburn and his sister Amanda Thoburn

When we moved from leased space in Gaithersburg to our own buidling in Hagerstown, Dominic came with us as a warehouse manager. He also made some short deliveries and pickups of equipment. He has moved on to other opportunities.

Dan was hired after Dominic left the company to help in the warehouse and with deliveries. After a year or so, Dan left us to experience life on the West Coast for a little while. Now he is back with us and part of the team! Dan enjoys showing our guests around the warehouse and helping them find what they need.

Amanda, Lloyd’s youngest daughter, was here for a couple of years. Amanda started out doing Ebay listings and social media for the company. As time passed, she learned to handle shipping documentation for sea containers, ordering company supplies and taking care of back office matters to assist Lloyd. In addition, she learned how to put on an online auction for our company with Live Auctioneers. Her first effort at this was very successful for us. We plan to have more auctions online and possibly with a live audience in the near future.

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Expansion and Adversity

When Lloyd says, “We can’t move in the warehouse!” or “There’s no room to put new inventory at the shop!”, I tell him we need to sell the things that have been around for a while to make room.

Lloyd has other ideas. He would rather buy another warehouse, in addition to the existing space, to make more room for inventory. While our customers may collect jukeboxes, video games or advertising, I think Lloyd wants to collect buildings. In the past year, he has started a small collection, and I think he’s picking up steam.

It has been an adventure and an education. I am his partner, although a cautious, and sometimes reluctant, one. I wasn’t thrilled about the purchase of 339 West Antietam Street. It had been vacant for years and needed a lot of work, although it was immediately usable. It needed so much done and was not very attractive, even a little creepy, in the beginning. Still, the cost per foot was so much less than the warehouse space that we were renting in Gaithersburg at the time that the move made sense. I thought then that it would take years to fill that place up. It only took months.

The first time Lloyd walked me through it, it was dusk. The electricity was not on and it was dark. There were puddles on the floor here and there from leaks in the roof and a snake skin hanging from a water pipe. There are stone walls on the underground level from the days when the building was a bakery at the turn of the the last century.

Before we purchased 339 W. Antietam St., the Colbys had been running a pirate themed store in the building until Mr. Colby became ill. Before that it was R.D. McKee Hardware. Before that it was Castle Bakery, all the way back to the days of horses and carriages. The old place has history.

At this point, it has been improved considerably but is hardly finished. After a new roof, new front porch and railing, repaved driveway, many new windows, new lights, security, wiring, fencing, carpet, and concrete for structural concerns, it is like a new place, almost.


We rolled on some red paint to see how we liked the color before hiring professional painters to point the masonry and prime the building properly before painting.

We tested our the red paint on the yellow brick before hiring professional painters to do the job right.

The painters are in the process of priming the building for a final red coat of paint here.

Here is 339 West Antietam Street after the painting was finished in September of 2013.

Still, Antietam Street is bursting at the seams with inventory. Last year, Lloyd had his eye on a vacant warehouse on Franklin Street. He loved that it was about 37,000 square feet, on one level, still in Hagerstown and not too far from the shop on Antietam. Our warehouse on Antietam is three stories with stairs, ramps and a freight elevator. Each level is chopped up into many rooms. Lloyd wishes for more ease in moving inventory in and out than Antietam offers. He also wanted to get all of our valuable inventory out of the lower level of Antietam Street and have more parking for trailers and trucks.

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Antique Gas Pumps and More: Part 2

On our way back from our buying trip to Bill’s, Lloyd took me through Bedford to show me a little Americana. I had heard of the Bedford, PA Coffee Pot, but finally got to see it.

coffee pot

The Coffee Pot was designed and built in 1927 by Bert Koontz on the west end of Bedford along the Lincoln Highway Route. He was trying to attract visitors to the adjacent gas station. The Coffee Pot originally served ice cream, hamburgers and Coca-Cola. It later became a regular stop for Greyhound bus passengers, as it was located next to the bus depot. The Coffee Pot was moved to it’s current location and restored by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in 2004 in an effort to preserve the historic attraction.

Just a block or two down the road, there is a pretty old art-deco style gas station.

deco gas station

We began our two-day trip in Lloyd’s pickup. A four-hour round trip is a piece of cake in his upgraded Chevy Silverado. I had never really appreciated the comfort of that truck, with its heated, reclining leather seats and XM radio, until we returned to Hagerstown that day. The Chevy was full and we needed to leave it at the warehouse to be unloaded. For the first time, Lloyd was going to take his new Isuzu box truck out for a spin. The 2013 Chicagoland show is coming up soon and Lloyd plans to drive it up fully loaded with deliveries, so he needed to get comfortable driving the new truck.

I asked Dominic what he thought of the truck, having taken it out already. “It’s a work truck,” he said. “You can’t relax in it. You’ll see.” Continue reading

Been Away a While

I haven’t posted for a long time. Some of my readers have wondered why I stopped and have asked for more stories. I love to write, but I stopped. I also paint in oil and watercolor, and I stopped that too. I stopped volunteering in my granddaughters first grade class, even though I adored it. The reason I stopped all of the things that I loved was that my mother was diagnosed with ALS in September of 2012 and went downhill very fast. She was only 73 and had been healthy and active until last summer. I lost her on April 20th, 2013. Continue reading

Antique Gas Pumps and More: Part 1

It was a week after our trip to Niagara Falls. My husband was ready to hit the road again. He planned to buy a few items from an extensive collection in Pennsylvania. I thought it would be interesting to see, so decided to ride along.  With so many places to go in that area, we planned for a two-day trip again.

We stopped at the Hagerstown warehouse first, to make sure everything was going smoothly with the loading of a sea container. From there we drove to our first stop, about 2 hours up the road.

Lloyd was after some pinballs to buy. The games were stored in a building that was originally built by the owner for his business, but now was a home for his collection. Lloyd worked out a deal with our host, Bill, for 3 Gottlieb wedgehead pinballs, a Captain Fantastic Pinball and a Golden Eye pin.pins Continue reading

The Home of the Wurlitzer

On Tuesday evening, 2 weeks ago, Lloyd was working the computer trying to find something to buy while I relaxed with a good T.V. show. He walked into our family room and announced that he had found a Wurlitzer Auto Phonograph cabinet for $100.00. He had never heard of an Auto Phonograph, so he called the seller up to ask for more details. When the seller described the cabinet as having red plastics, Lloyd thought perhaps it was a Wurlitzer 61 cabinet, which would not have been worth the trip, but he asked the seller to text him a photo anyway.  To Lloyd’s surprise, it was a Wurlitzer 71 jukebox cabinet. He said that the machine was worth a couple thousand dollars so it was a great find.

wurlitzer 71

Lloyd knew that if he didn’t go get it fast, someone else would get it. Ben was already in North Carolina doing pickups and deliveries, but the Wurlitzer was in North Tonawanda, New York. That is about seven and a half hours drive from our home. Dominic was willing to make the drive, but when Lloyd told me it was only about 20 minutes from Niagara Falls, I said, “Let’s go! I’ve never been to Niagara Falls and it’s on my list!”

Lloyd agreed that it would be fun to go on the road together for this one, so we packed for one night away and set out the next morning.
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Picking Charlotte

A few months ago, Lloyd got a tip about a warehouse in Charlotte that was used years ago by Kostakes Novelty Company. The operator was no longer living and the building had been unused for many years. A tiny place in comparison to the modern buildings surrounding it, the owner had a contract to sell the land with plans to tear down the building for redevelopment. The contents were available for sale. Continue reading

The Rooster and the Rat

“There are too many places to go!” Lloyd complained as he looked at the long list he had just completed. He sat at our kitchen table, writing the name of each item that he had purchased that needed to be picked up and the name of each item sold that was awaiting delivery.

“I can’t send Ben on all of these trips. I’ll wear him out, and he is already running the roads hard as it is. Dominic only wants to drive locally, and Chase needs to be home for his daughters,” he explained to me. “Do you feel like going on the road with me?” he asked. Continue reading

Collecting Antique Match Vendors

One of our friends, Curtis, recently had a beautiful collection consigned to him and we were excited to pay him a visit to see it. This collection was unusual because it contained many match vending machines, including many that we have not seen before.

Curtis Kaufman began collecting antiques in 1989. When he was unable to find anyone to restore some of his collectibles, he began to teach himself how to do his own restorations. Continue reading

Chicagoland Show 2012

Wednesday, November 7

The Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot-Machine and Jukebox Show in St.Charles, Illinois is a bi-annual event and Coinopwarehouse has been present for it as long as I have known Lloyd. In fact, Lloyd has been coming to the show for about 20 years.

This year, Ben and Amanda left in one truck, pulling a trailer full of equipment to deliver at the show and also along the way. Lloyd and I left in another truck. The plan was to leave on Wednesday morning and make a leisurely trip out of the 12-hour ride. Then, a call came on Tuesday that a forty-foot sea container needed to be loaded on Wednesday for France, and that took all day, so none of us were able to leave until nearly 5:00 pm on Wednesday. Continue reading