Pop culture toymaker Funko opened its brand new headquarters and flagship store to the public Saturday. Thousands of fans of the vinyl “Pop!” figures flocked to downtown Everett, Wash., for a chance to be among the first to experience the new space and get their hands on some exclusive limited-edition Funko Pop! figures.
Funko has been located in Everett since 1998, but explosive growth in the popularity of its Pop! line of toys led to the company outgrowing its former south Everett location.
“When we were outgrowing the old building there were opportunities to move to other cities, Seattle and whatnot,” explained Mark Robben, Funko’s Director of Marketing. “Our CEO Brian Mariotti is a Snohomish County guy and he wants this company to be a Snohomish County company. It meant more to be part of the community up here, where he’s from, and continue to reinforce this community and help continue its economic development.”
The new headquarters at 2802 Wetmore Ave is on Everett’s Historical Register of Places, and previously housed a Bon Marchè department store and more recently Trinity Lutheran College.
The new space includes a public meeting room where some of Funko’s 80 staff artists will donate their time on the weekends to mentor and teach kids in the Everett area about art, drawing, sculpting, sketching, and overall toy design. “We want to give back to the community and prep the next generation of toy designers,” Robben said.
“It feels special for us to be up here, because we’re different, and we stand out a little bit,” shared Robben. “It’s good for Everett for us to be here, but it’s also good for us.”
Tickets to today’s grand opening were all given out on Friday, but after today you can visit the store during normal business hours. The store is laid out almost like a miniature amusement park, with themed areas for Star Wars, Disney, Harry Potter, DC Comics, Anime, a build-your-own Pop! factory, and “Wetmore Forest,” a completely original series of characters designed by Funko to celebrate their new headquarters’ location on Wetmore Avenue.
Despite not being located in the more popular Seattle-Bellevue corridor, Funko hasn’t had any real trouble keeping up a rapid pace of growth in recent years.
“Most of our skilled jobs are in sculpting and creative concepting, and things like that, so we don’t have an issue running into people who just want to live and work in the Amazon corridor,” Robben explained. “That’s not the same space that we’re playing in. That said, we do still have a lot of people who live in Seattle that come up here, because it’s a reverse commute.”
The employee space in the upper floors of the building has slides between floors, and in the basement there’s a bowling alley. Enjoy this photo gallery of the sights at the flagship store, and be sure come up to Everett next week to check it out for yourself.