Toys for Big Boys is a store for collectors with big bucks.

By Linda Wager

HENDERSON, Ky. – Woodring Fryer has spent a good part of his life collecting unusual cars, jukeboxes, arcade machines and one-armed bandits.
But what began as a hobby turned into a business for Fryer last month when Sears’ outlet in Henderson closed.
Fryer, who had leased the Eastgate Shopping Center store to Sears, decided to fill the vacant store with his various hob-bies. On Nov. 28, he opened Toys For Big Boys.
The store is modest in appearance, resembling a warehouse, not a showroom.
But Fryer, a real estate appraiser, views the business as more of a short-term venture than a full-time operation. During weekdays, he opens the doors at 4 p.m., after his real estate business closes.
“I had been collecting so long that I was running out of places to put things,” Fryer said. “I was hoping to sell a few things before I retire next year.
Customers are greeted by a seven-foot wooden cowboy, complete with a wooden hat and a wooden Smith and Wesson pistol.
The cowboy, a slot machine, gives customers metal tokens in return for their quarters..
He also has the more standard slot machines dating from as far back as the 1940s. They come from Las Vegas and Reno, Nev., and even Evansville.
Fryer said the slot machines have become his best sellers, with families purchasing them to add to their recreation rooms.
A collection of jukeboxes is located in various places around the room. Every age group can identify with at least one of them.
They play 78 and 45 rpm records and contain the music of recording artists such as The Andrews Sisters, The Mills Brothers and Culture Club.
Pinball machines range from state-of-the-art to the antique at Fryer’s store. He has the latest talking pinball machines, along with several models designed in the 1940s before flippers came into use. The object of the game then was to release, or shoot, the ball into a specific hole to score points.
Toward the back of the store, a collection of player pianos is displayed. They resemble nickelodeons but were made within the last several years.
“They called them nickelodeons because they used to play for a nickel,” Fryer said. “But inflation hit the nickelo-deon, too, and now they cost a quarter.” Fryer’s most prized possession is a multi-colored jukebox developed in 1973 by Wurlitzer. It was Wurlitzer’s last attempt to revive the jukebox era. It is a re-creation of record machines developed during the 1940s.
He is asking $4,895 for it, making it his most expensive jukebox.
Fryer has stored his collection of unusual cars in Sears’ old garage. Included in the collection is a 1980 Excalibur from Milwaukee. Its unusual design comes with a price of $42,500.
For people not interested in cars, jukeboxes or arcade machines, there is always Fryer’s collection of 70 birds. On warm evenings, Fryer keeps his collection in cages in the front of the store.
His assortment of macaws, parrots and cockatoos should come as no surprise. They are just another hobby.