How much is that dead guy in the window?

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By Phil Eil

Some guys collected baseball cards when they were little. Martin Economou collected skulls. Nowadays, he doesn’t just collect skulls, he sells them three days a week at his store, Martin’s 16th Street Emporium. “It’s a skull shop,” Martin told me, pointing out raccoon skulls, electric light-up skulls, skulls with human hair, and skull rings as we toured his shop. “Skulls are big,” he explained, passing a glowing blue plasma skull, “They weren’t five years ago. The kids are wearing them—they’re everywhere.”

skull shop 008.jpg
"Don't mind me, I'm just admiring the shape of your skull..."

I can attest to the excitement about his skulls, skeletons, and other quirky items (“Death Zone” flags, eye patches) sold at Martin’s Emporium. The store was bustling when I dropped in on Friday afternoon. “How much are those skull earrings?” one man asked. Another guy left his delivery truck running outside as he quickly surveyed Martin’s gem-stone skull selection. “I gotta come in here when I get paid, man,” he called to Martin as he hurried out.

Before I left, I gleaned a little industry insight from the Skull Man. “I believe that to succeed in business, you have to have something different,” Martin said, as he wrapped up the “Speak No Evil” skeleton (sitting on a picture frame, hands clapped over its mouth) that I bought. Just then, a customer walked up to the counter and proudly pulled a monkey’s paw from his pocket. “Ooh, I’ve been waiting for this!” Martin exclaimed, admiring the item. “Yeah, isn’t that cool?” the guy replied. “It doesn’t even smell.”

Martin’s 16th St. Emporium
3248 16th St., SF
(415) 552-4631
www.martinsemporium.com

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