VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Jim Weigl creates some of the world's hottest toys.
"This is a headband that makes you look like a dinosaur, these are glow-in-the-dark teeth and this is everything you need for a glow-in-the-dark party," he said as he showed off toys in his Virginia Beach warehouse.
Weigl owns the Virginia Toy and Novelty Company.
"It is a 23-year-old company I started out of my living room, then I started selling at the Oceanfront," he said.
His company mass-produces toys for theme parks and festivals. Sea World, Disneyland and Busch Gardens are some of his many clients.
"The pandemic shut down all of my big customers," Weigl said.
With theme parks across the country shuttered, Weigl had to get creative.
"I decided to go to auctioneer school in Indiana for 10 days, and I got a diploma," he said.
Now bidding chants have replaced Weigl's bubbles and baubles.
"I have always enjoyed looking for treasures, buying and selling," he said.
His massive warehouse was the picture-perfect pivot, with toys on one side and trinkets and treasures on the other.
Blue Box Auction Gallery launched about six months ago.
"Our first auction was October of last year. We are really new to the game," Weigl said.
With offerings ranging from coins to china, Disney dishware to dolls, lamps to barber chairs and everything in between, Weigl is swiftly making a shift.
"We get customers from all across the world," he said.
His auctions take place in person and online, pivoting right along with the pandemic.
"It is so energizing and really fun," Weigl said.
And he's not taking off the toy tool belt just yet. "The plan is to operate both businesses forever," Weigl said.
Doubling his fun, not letting a virus take victory.
"I see it as an opportunity to reinvent yourself," he said.