POCATELLO – An Idaho State University student has started a business in Pocatello focusing on works of glass that glow bright green and other colors due to extremely low and non-harmful levels of radioactivity.
Wilfred Scheibe says The Radioactive Retailer, which offers Vaseline and Uranium glassware and related items, is in a former church at 1050 E. Center Street.
The entrance is on the left side of the front of the building.
The 27-year-old Scheibe says he's lucky to have the location.
“I really don't think I'm going to have any problems with lack of customers or anything like that,” he said. “It's a busy intersection.”
He says the property is five minutes from most everything in Pocatello and 10 minutes from Chubbuck and about five blocks away from ISU.
It's just about the most central location you could think of,” he said. “And 10th and Center is a real nice number.”
But he may still get a couple signs and is thinking of putting up a flag banner by the building.
Scheibe says awareness of the new business, which he calls a fun niche store unlike any others in the area, has been strong, especially online, since he opened on Feb. 2.
And in addition to being unique, purchasing the items that he offers won't break the bank.
The lava lamps and plasma balls cost just $30 to $40 each.
“I did try to make it so that there was something for everybody's budget,” Scheibe said.
And everyone who's come in to see the business has been blown away by what they see, he said.
Perhaps because it's unique.
“From Salt Lake to Boise — the immediate area — I haven't seen anything that sells stuff like this,” he said. “So I figured it was a great opportunity to kind of open something that would make people happy.”
And interestingly enough one of the most popular items in early going at the shop has been stickers.
“They are flying off the shelves,” Scheibe said.
And that benefits the store by both raising awareness and adding to his bottom line.
“People love stickers,” he said.
He sees it as a good idea to have something that people can always afford to buy and keep.
“When I have traffic coming through they can take a look and leave,” he said. “But usually they take a look at the stickers and they're like, '50 cents apiece' and they walk out with a dollar or two of them,” he said.
And each customer spending a dollar or two during their visits to the store adds up after awhile, according to Scheibe.
So hopefully things continue on their current trajectory.
He says he used his last year of student loans to finance the business and is optimistic that it's a good investment.
“And I think, you know, based on the reactions I've gotten from people it's going to work out,” he said.
And every time somebody comes by he likes to give them a tour and tell them the history of the place and those who lived in the building.
Former residents include his late grandmother, who corresponded with Mother Theresa.
Scheibe says one of the attractions at the business will likely be a small spinning doll that will play music without a speaker.
And that's just the beginning.
“There's so many interesting and cool novelties that I have here and I plan on getting more,” he said.
In one portion of the store his goal was to make it so that when the lights were off only the ultraviolet lights and the items in the business would create all the needed illumination. Other lights wouldn't even be required.
"It doesn't get that much darker when the lights are off," said Scheibe, who will graduate from ISU with a major in philosophy and a minor in psychology.
Just one more way to light up the dark.