Mertz moves Be Amazing Magic Shop to Gahanna
Be Amazing Magic Shop owner Wynn Mertz hopes interest in the craft he loves won't vanish.
Mertz recently moved the business he has owned for 18 months from Sinclair Road to 80 N. Hamilton Road, Suite 4, beside Katie's Pizza and near Gahanna Lincoln High School and Clark Hall.
A grand reopening was held Oct. 12.
"I give beginning lessons and workshops, trying to get younger kids interested in magic," he said.
The store is one of only three brick-and-mortar magic shops in Ohio, Mertz said. The other two are Haines House of Cards in Cincinnati and Illusions in Cleveland.
"The former owner wanted it to be a destination, so there was no foot traffic north of Morse Road," he said. "I only live one-and-a-half miles from here, and I'm near the high school. I've already had 11 walk-ins, and that's more than I had in one-and-a-half years at the old location."
The shop offers merchandise related to everything magic, such as DVDs, books, coins, special playing cards, sponge balls, props and accessories.
"A few hobbyists come in for tips," he said. "Typically, they come in to buy novelty things."
Mertz has been involved in magic sporadically over the past 40 years.
"I've been a professional the last 35 years," he said. "I got interested as a young child. For most people, it's a hobby. They perform for friends, family and co-workers."
Mertz said he stays busy with the shop, but he still finds time to perform about a dozen shows annually. He also gives magic lessons and hosts what he calls "jam sessions" for fellow hobbyist at the store.
"On Saturday afternoons, we sit in the clubhouse room (at the store) and talk about effects, presentations and reactions," Mertz said. "We have fun."
He also hosts pizza parties every couple of months to talk magic with club members or anyone on his newsletter list.
Mertz is starting a loyalty-club punch card, giving a 10-percent discount after nine purchases.
He said magicians from around the world are expected to visit Columbus for the Magi-Fest on Jan. 30-Feb 1, 2014, at the Crowne Plaza, Columbus North (Worthington area). The magic convention features shows and lectures, a dealer room and jamming sessions. The convention ends with a show for the public, Mertz said.
The Magi-Fest also provides scholarships to middle through high school students for a two-week camp in Canada to get the younger generation interested in magic.
Mertz, who's retired from a job in electronics, said a lot of charity work is done by magicians. He pointed to a nonprofit group called the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians, the world's oldest magic society, as recorded in the Guinness World Records book.
Mertz said his wife, Gerry, a retired Columbus City Schools teacher, encouraged him to buy the business as a retirement gig.
She told ThisWeek all local magicians go to him for the latest in the business.
"Some of them do shows," she said. "All magicians love to perform."
Business hours at the Be Amazing Magic Shop are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. It's closed on Sundays and Mondays.