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GROUND FLOOR: It's magic at Cedar Rapids shop

Store offers more than 'just a few tricks'

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Tim Stolba says he’s bucking a national trend by opening a brick-and-mortar store, when most of the industry is moving online. But maybe he’s expecting a little magic.

The Iowa Magic Shop opened in Cedar Rapids at the end of June, and Stolba claims it is one of the few — if not the only — brick-and-mortar magic shop in Iowa.

The Cedar Rapids-based magician left his full-time job as an auto technician at Lynch Ford Chevrolet Inc. and opened his magic shop in a 340-square-foot building behind his home on Mount Vernon Road.

He began renovations on the building this past October, intending to use it as an office and as space to practice his magic. But he didn’t expect to open his own shop until Stolba bought products from an associate who was leaving the business.

“It became a full-fledged magic shop, instead of just a few tricks,” he recalled.

The walls of the shop are covered with shelves stocked with items for magicians of all skill levels, including beginner’s kits, books, close-up magic tricks and about 72 decks of different cards. What started as about $5,000 in stock has grown to $10,000, Stolba said.

He said he hasn’t seen a profit yet because he reinvests what he makes back into the store by increasing stock.

“This doesn’t make a lot of money, but it’s something fun and it’s me giving back to the community, because there are people interested in this and don’t have the resources,” he said.

Stolba said he also offers mentorship to his customers — something you can’t buy online.

“The thing about a magic shop that’s great is there’s mentoring that goes on,” said Stolba, who has been performing magic since he was 13. “Anybody that comes in, I’m going to show them before they leave how to do the magic trick. I’m here to help through the process.”

He is the shop’s sole employee.

For now, Stolba said he’s focusing on expanding the circle on aspiring magicians in the area.

“There are people out looking for this,” Stolba said. “There are people interested, and I’m glad to provide it.”

At a glance

Owner: Tim Stolba

Business: Iowa Magic Shop

Address: 4729 Mount Vernon Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids

Phone: (319) 366-2442

Website: iowamagic.org

Know a company that’s been in business for less than a year that’d be ideal for “The Ground Floor”? Contact Michael Chevy Castranova at michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com

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