Good evening. How are you? I hope you’ve had a good weekend. As promised, I’m ready to give you the low-down on yesterday’s glamorous gala opening of the ECHO PARK TIME TRAVEL MART.

Let me get right to the good stuff with a few photos, all of which will open up to 800 pixel width when you click on them. (This will come in handy on the product shots.)




Isn’t that a lovely marquee? Don’t you love the pseudo-gold-leaf 826LA? And the nice stripes on the wall? Even the freezer signs are custom made.

Now, let’s browse the shelves:


Back on September 30th, 2006 at 11:09 AM, Mac was the person who first contacted me about the store, based on a kind recommendation from Sam Potts, who designed the Superhero Supply Co. in Brooklyn. (Please come visit us in L.A., Sam, so I can actually meet you and say Thank you!) Back then Mac said that the store would open in December 2006 and if I could blitz through a few designs for them. Ha! Of course, then everything dragged out, which is just as well. I managed to squeeze a little work into the interim—this entire site, for example, and the book about it.

His actual words were “I’m wondering whether you’d be at all interested in doing a little design for us. A couple product lines, maybe? I should tell you up front that the work would have to be pro bono, but that it’s also fun, rewarding, exciting, for a good cause, etc.” Of course I said YES! ABSOLUTELY! Who would ever say no to designing a Time Travel Store, for crying out loud? Could anything be more up my alley? [Note: If you’re reading this and you’re working on a high-end shoe store, on a sexy fashion label, an airline identity, or a line of artisanal chocolates or cheeses… do call!] Anyway… time travel? Hell yes!

My one condition was this: I’d do the job, as long as I’d be the exclusive designer for the store. (Sorry, [name withheld].) I freely admit that I’m a glory hound, and a whore for attention in general. I wanted design dominion over that store, and the 826 team were kind enough to grant my wish. I hope they’re happy with their decision. I know I am. (Thank you for everything, Mac & Amy!)

So there you go.

Lastly, let me show you the pride and joy of the Echo Park Time Travel Mart — our very own ICEE machine:


Sadly, it conked out just minutes before the opening event, but it’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ for the full opening on January 15th, 2008. In the meantime everybody had a good time wandering the aisles and enjoying the company.

Since this is Los Angeles, let me share the sightings: I saw Catherine Keener, Rhea Perlman, Mike White, Spike Jonze, Jenny Lewis, Zooey Deschanel and—be still my heart—Natalie Portman. I heard that we also had Ted Danson, Jason Bateman and the excellent Michael Cera in the store. Needless to say, I didn’t speak to any of the celebs, or make so much as eye contact. I wouldn’t know the first thing to say. Maybe Vulcans got into the whole telepathy thing because they’re shy, too. It kinda sucks, but what can you do? I’m working on it. Still… Natalie Portman checked out a whole bunch of my designs and the very thought pleases me. Tee-hee! (Or should I say gleyven?)

I did briefly get to say Hello to Dave Eggers, who’s kind of cute, I suppose, but it’s just not the same. (Sorry, Dave.)

We opened the store for another few hours earlier today, and I got to greet a few more of my friends. Thank you to all of you who came to visit last night and today. I hope you had a good time, and that you picked up some time-shifty stocking stuffers. If you didn’t have a chance to be there, you can check out the store at the Monster Book Launch Party on March 1st. In the meantime, why not buy a few holiday gifts at 826LA’s online Holiday Sale?

So there you have it. The Time Travel Store! It’ll be closed until the grand re-opening in January, so Scott can finish the build, and I’ll do a few more product designs, too. In the meantime, here is a seven minute video walkthrough that I captured for you just minutes before the doors officially opened. It’s full of glorious ambient noise and random background conversation. Hell, it even has a cameo by Mac Barnett. I hope you’ll enjoy it. (Revver truncated the video at 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I guess there was just too much nudity and cursing in the last minute and 15 seconds. You’ll just have to imagine it, I guess.)

You do know, don’t you, that 344 LOVES YOU


  • 17 December 2007 6:32 am

    Gosh darn it, you have too much fun!!!
    I need every one of those products and then some.

  • 17 December 2007 6:35 am

    Stefan, please convince the owner to spread this franchise all over the world. Everything is so nerdishly awesome, sweet gorilla of Manilla!
    PS: Is that really “Heartbeats” by The Knife playing in the background?

  • 17 December 2007 3:15 pm

    Hi Inanna & Simon.
    Thank you for your comments. I’m glad you like the goods. At some point in 2008 we’ll have them available for mail order through a dedicated website, I think.
    Simon, that may well be The Knife in the background. The 826 people are very hip to these things. I’m living under a rock these days, so I can barely keep up. Also, nice Hermes Conrad reference.

  • Danielle
    17 December 2007 4:11 pm

    Caveman Candy!

  • 17 December 2007 4:17 pm

    Oh yes! Satisfies Caveman’s Chewing Needs! Keeps Caveman’s Teeth Tartar Free!

  • Brooke N.
    19 December 2007 10:32 am

    You and your colleagues are geniuses. I wish I had a Time Travel Mart near me. Brilliant idea!! And great design, to boot. We are jealous over here in the Midwest.

  • Brooke N.
    19 December 2007 10:33 am

    You and your colleagues are geniuses. I wish I had a Time Travel Mart near me. Brilliant idea!! And great design, to boot. We are jealous over here in the Midwest.

  • 19 December 2007 1:12 pm

    You do have a store in Chicago, Brooke. It’s the Spy Store, which is hidden behind the Boring Store, which is listed in the “Drill BIts & Drilling Supplies” section of the Yellow Pages. Here is the information:
    1331 North Milwaukee Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60622
    Phone: 773 772 8108
    They have excellent art by Chris Ware!

  • 21 December 2007 2:20 pm

    stefan, just wanted to wish you the very best for Christmas and the New Year. Much love, peace and best wishes, Simon

  • 16 January 2008 5:27 am

    What the heck is Robot Milk?! 😉

  • 6 February 2008 4:27 am

    Tesco had better watch out; these boys are on for world domination. Or maybe they’ve already got it…

  • 23 February 2008 3:59 am

    What’s robot milk?
    I know its a bit late but Happy New Year!

  • 26 February 2008 7:45 am

    I have never felt such a mixture of envy, love, appreciation, and wonderment before.

  • JenasaurusX
    26 February 2008 9:20 am

    Can vegans drink robot milk? I want some!!!

  • Witty Guy
    26 February 2008 3:01 pm

    You are not as witty as you think. *yawn*

  • Kerry
    26 February 2008 4:35 pm

    Holy crap! I think there’s one of these types of psudo-stores in Boston! My friend was telling me about this strange store where you enter and.. ask to buy a Snapple or something, wherein the clerk will inform you that the Snapple machine is broken– but.. when you walk up to the Snapple machine, a hidden door opens to reveal an entirely different store. I’d appreciated it if someone could provide me with the specifics on this store, considering that I’ve only heard of it, but have never been to it. I would *LOVE* to be on the creative team for one of these things, cultural satire at its best. Kudos and hats off to you guys. XD

  • 26 February 2008 6:31 pm

    In response to Simon and Stefan about the background music, I think that’s Jose Gonzalez’s cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats.”

  • A Rentee
    26 February 2008 6:44 pm

    Alright, I was down with the idea until I saw the robot-milk. At which point I began to think about the year 2830. I thought, Would consumers really call something “robot-milk” that they would drink (assuming it’s ‘fresh and wholesome’ for organics and not machines). It would likely be called something stupid like MELK. (although we do have soy/goat) Would we really still be dependent on glass and plastic? I’d like to think there was some sort of recyclable (energy maybe) containment field that could be created at the point of disposal easing storage/delivery of these MELK crystals. Would there even be text that we could read on the container? With the advancements in e-ink and erasable/programmable displays. We would likely not have the equipment necessary to view its augmentations of reality.
    But then this assumes so many other things. Water supply/purification/harvesting from our other inhabited planets?
    Would we even go to ‘markets’ in 2830? Wouldn’t we want our MELK dispensers to be part of our confined living quarters (likely augmented to appear bigger for those who can afford the subscription).

  • Jimmy L
    26 February 2008 7:04 pm

    I see… Can we say “waste of my time”?
    If you’re a drudge fan:

  • Name.
    26 February 2008 8:14 pm

    The Boston store is not associated with 826. It is called The Bodega.

  • Decon
    26 February 2008 8:34 pm

    Hey! Oh wow, I just saw this on Reddit and I grew up in and around this neighborhood! Whoa, we made it people, we got to to Reddit!
    P.S. Gentrification anyone?

  • zav
    26 February 2008 9:19 pm

    OMG – This is so terribly awesome. I wish I was back in California – I’d fly down in a second to purchase a gross of Robot Repellant.
    Mammoth! It’s what’s for Dinner! And breakfast, lunch, appetizers, inbetween meal snacking, brunch, desert.

  • Ed Kricedsko
    27 February 2008 2:18 am

    To JenasaurusX and A Rentee:
    If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. They’re having fun in a novelty shop, and they don’t need your crap.

  • Marty Stufferford
    27 February 2008 2:22 am

    Hey Ed Kricedsko, you meant “Witty Guy” and “Jimmy L” right? And yeah, I agree with you. Some people are just friggin’ idiots with nothing better to do than to piss on other people.

  • Seanaxax
    27 February 2008 2:24 am

    now get some gas pumps outside your store and put dinosaurs on them!
    …oh wait…

  • JJ
    27 February 2008 3:06 am

    you need a secret door with bj’s

  • Muenster
    28 February 2008 5:30 am

    I would like a bottle of your finest REAGANISM please.
    The place looks great. Extremely visually appealing, except the Ricky Martin lunch box.

  • Anita
    28 February 2008 11:25 am

    Does anyone know if this location is actually open? I know of several groups who would like to patronize this location. 🙂

  • 28 February 2008 4:45 pm

    This is THE coolest store ever!

  • 29 February 2008 2:01 pm

    Is there a way to purchase any of these products online? I’d personally like that “Meeting Yourself” poster.

  • Anthonyk
    29 February 2008 4:58 pm

    I went yesterday and got the change I forgot tomorow!

  • John Smith
    29 February 2008 9:18 pm

    Do you carry spare parts for a late-model TARDIS?

  • Dana
    1 March 2008 11:43 am

    The whole concept of this store is ingenious. I liked the bottled robot emotions. xD
    And as if a video tour of the store isn’t already awesome enough, it has Knife playing in the background.

  • Ryan
    3 March 2008 12:40 pm

    Too bad that the place is actually just always locked up like some vacant crack house.

  • 4 March 2008 2:16 am

    it’s really really great, I wish I could visit it, get some stuff, but i had an idea, for both you and the store owners: do a 360degree panorama of the whole place so we can all explore at least a little bit of it… (the panorama is not that hard to make)

  • Craig Gingold
    4 March 2008 6:03 am

    Echo Park was possibly a little bit cool when I was living there, but definitely not *this* cool. Seeing as it’s a Time Travel shop, is there any chance of tele-transporting the whole thing back to 1976 for a day so I can wander in and inspect the, er, merchandise first hand? (I’m afraid I’m a bit too far from LA for a visit.)

  • öbbi
    4 March 2008 6:21 am
  • Craig Gingold
    4 March 2008 9:23 am

    PS: I love the “OUT OF ORDER” sign on the Hyper-Slush machine — laugh-out-loud funny! But it’s covering a label which appears to have the word “Bubonic” on it. What are the missing words? (And by the way, has the Health Dept. been in yet?)

  • Dana
    5 March 2008 12:54 pm

    Hmm..why did it switch my name to the comment below my actual one?

  • Dana
    5 March 2008 12:54 pm

    Hmm..why did it switch my name to the comment below my actual one?

  • 12 March 2008 7:26 am

    This is quite the store! It would be a blast to go here and just look around and see what everything is! HaHa

  • 18 March 2008 5:32 pm

    Caveman Candy and leeches… on the same shelf? This is too good to be true!

  • 20 April 2008 10:58 pm

    LOL. The Time-Freezy is my favorite 🙂

  • 24 June 2008 10:54 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post, thank you. Some very interesting points to think about. It would be great, if you’re interested, to share this at It’s an online tool for travelers where you can post the best travel news and articles on the web and then vote for your favorites.

  • 12 July 2008 1:04 am

    Golden Horde? Try the Arabian Horse in Oman!

  • 15 July 2008 12:12 am

    LOL! What a pity for anyone who advised to comeback tomorrow,, great grand launching i guess…

  • 18 July 2008 11:33 pm

    Good idea.You have too much fun!!!
    I need every one of those products and then some.

  • 11 August 2008 2:55 am

    Mammoth Chunks? Shouldn’t they be frozen!
    Really made the start of my week with this read – great stuff – have sent to other work colleagues.
    All the best,

  • 13 August 2008 7:58 am

    Barbarian Repellant!! I live in Liverpool, UK. Could do with a few bottles of that!!!

  • 28 August 2008 11:23 am

    That looks awesome. I may have to do a comic or two about this store… I know Cassie would love it.

  • killer
    29 September 2008 2:52 am

    It’s beutiful

  • no name
    20 November 2008 2:34 pm

    is there any in arizona

  • 17 March 2009 7:13 pm

    these pictures are making me laugh.
    watch friends online

  • 13 October 2009 4:28 am

    hi, is your time travel store still open? if so lemme know i wanna drop by…

  • 13 October 2009 5:27 am

    Hello razimus. The store is opener than ever! Come on by: 1714 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif.
    Open Monday 12pm – 4pm
    Tuesday through Friday 12pm – 8pm
    Saturday and Sunday 12pm – 6pm

  • 4 December 2009 3:05 pm

    Sweet! I love it. This needs to go national, or at least get better exposure. I love this type of thing. Robot Milk . . . lol

  • 27 February 2010 6:32 pm

    The Knife in the background. The 826 people are very hip to these things. I’m living under a rock these days, so I can barely keep up.
    Baby Boy Bedding

  • 2 April 2010 10:05 am

    I really like this bit:
    time freezy hyper slush – “out of order come back yesterday”
    That’s hilarious 🙂

  • 26 August 2010 8:12 am

    This is awesome. According to me, The Boston store is not associated with 826.What do you think?

  • 26 August 2010 10:14 pm

    Oh… the Bigfoot Research Institute? That’s all on the up-and-up. What makes you think otherwise?

  • 24 September 2010 9:24 pm

    Time-Freezy Hyper Slush? what is this? Spread this franchise all over the world. Cool! This is awesome!

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