Tricks and Treats at the Little Shop of Horror

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When shoppers walk into Melissa Browning’s Little Shop of Horror for the first time, they generally react with “stunned silence or sometimes rather loud expletives of awesomeness.”

Owner Melissa Browning
Owner Melissa Browning

From posters to hundreds of VHS tapes ranging from the tame (“Scooby Doo”) to the thrilling (“Dawn of the Dead”) lining the walls, her store is a year-round horror haven that doesn’t confine zombies to just autumn. It’s a far cry from those seasonal Halloween pop-up stores that carry primarily masks and costumes. Instead, Melissa’s got indie items – Jason Voorhees pint glasses, “The Walking Dead” candles and various soaps with names like “Psycho Shower Scene.”

Little Shop of Horror storefront
Little Shop of Horror storefront

The horror bug bit Melissa back in elementary school. “I rented ‘Children of the Corn’ and I was a goner,” she says. Melissa moved to town a decade ago to open rXr CDs, but then decided to concentrate on just the scary stuff. She found her shop’s location at 506 N. Mangum St., Ste. 103, as Center Studio Architecture was building it back in 2009. “[I] was lucky enough to be able to purchase one of the commercial units and have it made to my weird specs,” she recalls. “Black-and-white tile floors, now accented by blood splatter, were a must.”

Spooky candles for sale at the shop
Spooky candles for sale at the shop

Little Shop of Horror celebrates one year of chills and thrills in October thanks to its customers who appreciate the full spectrum of terror, from the campy to the macabre. If you didn’t make it during the anniversary week, Oct. 5-9, shop on any Friday the 13th for, you guessed it, 13% off. And as Halloween nears, Melissa is more than happy to use her extensive knowledge of movies – her favorite is “Slither” – and recommend something. She’s been involved in the programming of the annual Nevermore Film Festival, held in February at The Carolina Theatre. “My favorite thing is being able to geek out with others about movies or turn people on to movies they might not have heard of,” she says. “It’s just bonus points to get paid to do it.”

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Jessica Stringer

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