Time Travel Mart and 826LA in Echo Park

Ever since I first heard about this place I have been wanting to check it out. I mean, how can you not love a store that tells you it is selling to all parts of time as a official time travel mart? When I walked in to the store I got even more excited because I was greeted by the man behind the counter telling me “hello again, I saw your future self in the store today, he told me you would be coming in.” That inherent cheesiness is what makes the Time Travel Mart such a success. Also, once you get to know them you realize it is simply a front to provide funds for 826LA, their center for reading and writing that helps all the neighborhood children to succeed. Read on for my full review.

Time Travel Mart 1

History

Based on what the man working behind the counter told me, they have multiple stores like these in cities like Chicago and San Francisco. Chicago’s is a spy shop called The Boring Store, and San Francisco’s is a Pirate shop. The story goes like this: the man who started the first reading center in San Francisco was told by the city that he needed a store front, so he set out to create the silly pirate shop that has become the flagship for their stores so that he could continue his non profit. This was such a success that he tried other ideas for his other locations.

826LA

The store itself is part of 826LA — a non-profit tutoring center for students and budding literary enthusiasts ages 6-18. It specializes in after-school tutoring, workshops and programs. The kids are encouraged to be creative and once a month one of their stories gets published and put into the store for people to purchase. They also teach the kids skills like music and created a CD of original lyrics the kids wrote. These songs have been performed by bands like Cold War Kids, Fiona Apple and She and Him. This is such a cool idea that makes me like the store even more.

The Time Travel Mart

Time Travel Mart 21

Now that we have gotten the history and awesome non-profit stuff out of the way, we can talk about the epic store that is The Time Travel Mart. I fancy myself to be somewhat of a nerd and I could just as easily have a blog that debates the finer points of the new Batman comics as a travel blog, so I am a fan of things that are unique like this. The store itself is pretty small, but from the moment you walk up to it and see a caveman shaking hands with a robot you know its going to be fun.

Time Travel Mart 6

The three small aisles are broken down into different time periods, catering to their time traveling customers. The oldest section has barbarian, chain mail and dinosaur stuff.

Time Travel Mart 3

A middle ages section has gems like medical leeches, cause who wouldn’t want those?

Time Travel Mart 2

The future section has robot milk and ray guns. There is also a section dedicated to the work the kids have been creating in their program.

Time Travel Mart 18

Every detail of this store is thought out, the employee of the month program spotlights people from all periods of history and the surveillance camera in the corner shows cavemen, robots and Victorian people all walking the store on its four screens.

Time Travel Mart 20

This is one of those places you just keep laughing at. My personal favorite was the shade tree with directions that stated: “take seed, travel back in time, plant it, return to present and relax under your tree.” It really is the little things in life.

Time Travel Mart 7

The guy working behind the counter said almost everything in the store is made by the people that work there, and while the prices seem high, all of the proceeds go to the non profit. This makes it easier to spend your money on a “I would rather be tricking cavemen” bumper sticker or a new can of barbarian repellent.

Time Travel Mart 19

Lastly, they have a “wanted ads” section in the back of the store that has everything from volunteers to solve the bubonic plague to a future message about finding a cat which is actually a possum, super fun.

Time Travel Mart 8

As you can tell I loved this store. It is small in size but big in heart and I was happy to purchase something that benefited the kids they were working with. I recommend you check it out for yourself, you can get directions below and if you are from the future you can shop online as well.

Photo Gallery

 

Get Directions

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  • This is ridiculous and awesome. Definitely have to check this out sometime. Love your blog!

    • Thanks for the comment! I think that place is great too!

  • poisonedtea

    I like the idea and how it is done.

    Great!

  • Zachary Melby

    Don’t forget about the great Dead Authors Podcast which is sponsored by The Time Travel Mark. It is a monthly podcast hosted by H. G. Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) who happens to own a time machine. Each episode the ever intrepid Wells brings us a currently dead author (Andy Richter as Emily Dickenson) to modern-day America. It’s funny as hell, and also helps 826LA! You’re future self wishes you would’ve checked it out sooner.

    • Thanks for sharing this, it sounds fantastic!

  • Zeph

    There is also a time travel mart on Venice just west of Centinela. That one has a wood and brass storefront for the steampunk enthusiasts.

    • Oh man, that sounds amazing I need to check it out!

  • esteefee

    I believe the whole enterprise is connected to McSweeney’s in some way. At least, at the Pirate Store in SF they have a bunch of McSweeney’s publications available for sale as well. The Pirate Store is beyond charming and has books of illustrations by the children you can purchase as well.