Action figures as far as the eye can see, from vintage Star Trek characters to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the latest Marvel superheroes. A wall of arcade games and shelves of board games. Comics and trading cards and video games. NerdinOut is an homage to all things nostalgic and nerdy—and the expansive store is also one of Inver Grove Heights’ newest businesses.
The Inver Grove Heights store is the second location for NerdinOut, which originated with co-owners Jake Scharpen and Brad Vigesaa’s shared passion for action figures and other nerdy pursuits. “Like all kids, I was into toys,” Scharpen explains. “I grew out of that around age 13, but then my freshman year of college I bought a figure via Ebay. It steamrolled from there.” He eventually connected with Vigesaa via Facebook, and the pair opened NerdinOut’s first location in Rochester in 2017 with the inventory they already owned and had in storage.
They quickly outgrew their initial 1,000 square foot space as they added products and wanted to offer space for gaming. “We eventually increased our Rochester store to 6,000 square feet,” says Scharpen. “[Meanwhile], it always was the goal to get to the Twin Cities.”
“With our store, we have as many types of products as possible—you don’t have to be into everything [we offer], just one thing. There’s something for everyone. We have vintage 1940s comics and gifts for one to two-year-olds. I’d say our target customer is anyone ages 1 to 100.”
Some of the NerdinOut’s best-selling items include Funko Pop figures (bobbleheads inspired by various pop culture characters) and Marvel Legends action figures. Card games are another focus—Scharpen is an avid fan of Magic the Gathering and is planning to establish a regular gaming schedule at the store. Thanks to the ample square footage, there’s plenty of space to accommodate socially distanced game nights. “We hold ourselves to a high standard for having a clean, friendly space,” he says.
For customers who prefer an online shopping experience, NerdinOut hosts live “claim sales” on their Facebook page four times per week. Whichever customer comments first gets to purchase the item, and each sale has a specific theme, such as toys and collectibles, Funkos, comic books, and gaming.
Scharpen recommends following NerdinOut’s Facebook page for the latest updates. “We take photos of our products, people can message us [to purchase them], and we ship.”
Other plans for the future include carrying new comic book releases and collectible lines, as well as organizing toy swaps. They would also like to partner with other local businesses for promotions, which is something that NerdinOut has done at their Rochester location.
Scharpen is excited to be in Inver Grove Heights, and he encourages the community to stop by and check out what NerdinOut has to offer. “We’re welcoming to all nerds, and everyone is a nerd in some way.”
9079 Buchanan Trail
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076