Zombie PX opens in Pennsylvania borough
Lebanon Daily News
PALMYRA, Pa. - Business has been brisk since Steve Jackson opened his new store on East Main Street last month.
We're not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Jackson's new store is Zombie PX, and it is billed as a zombie apocalypse supply store.
Jackson, who also owns Top Gun Military Apparel a few doors down, said the idea for Zombie PX grew out of his other store.
"People were asking in my other store pretty much to put some of this in that store, but it was getting kind of lost in there," he said.
Zombie PX, which is located at 25 E. Main St., is more or less a survival store. In addition to a zombie apocalypse, one can also find supplies to help them survive natural disasters like a flood or blizzard.
The store stocks non-perishable food, gas masks, rope, flashlights and water bricks, stackable containers that can be filled with 3.5 gallons of water or other materials. It also has a wide selection of knives, swords and hatchets, which may or may not be good weapons in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
"I was going to make it just a knife shop at first, but it kept evolving," Jackson said. "Then the zombie thing just exploded. I got so many different ideas. It probably won't even be like this six months from now."
In addition to survival gear, the store also sells zombie-culture paraphernalia, including T-shirts, mugs and action figures from the TV show "Walking Dead." There is also zombie-themed food like "dried zombie skin" - beef
jerky - and "zombie blood" - an energy drink.
To top it off, the store has several zombie mannequins, including one that pukes into a barrel.
Stocking the zombie-themed merchandise it is somewhat difficult, Jackson said.
"There's no zombie supply store," he said, without a hint of irony. "You gotta look around. It's not all in one spot."
All sorts of people have been coming into the store since it opened, Jackson said. Some people are really into zombies, while others are into the
survivalist culture. Many families also come in, as well as students on their way home from school, he said.
"I'm not sure which direction it's going yet," he said. "There isn't one type of person coming in yet."
Laura Eldred, an assistant professor of English at Lebanon Valley College and a zombie-culture aficionado, likened the store's use of zombies to draw in customers to a recent zombie-themed preparedness guide issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that used zombies to get more people interested in preparing for emergencies.
"None of us zombie fans think that this apocalypse is at all likely, but it is fun to consider if it were to happen how you would respond to that, and the answers to this question are
the same as how you would respond to any disaster," she said. "It's a fun way to react with real concerns and issues."
Eldred, who once taught an English course at LVC titled "They're Coming to Get You: Zombies, Mass Culture and Art," said interest in the zombie genre is high right now in part because of the AMC TV series "Walking Dead."
And there could be more interest in the near future. A film adaptation of the popular zombie-apocalypse novel "World War Z," starring Brad Pitt is scheduled to come out next year.
"Primarily, I think most zombie fans are film fans who appreciated the films of (George) Romero and others that came after that, and probably the survival thing is secondary for them," said Eldred, who helped organize the Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts' zombie art walk the past two years. "Most people come into enjoying zombies through film."
Jackson, a Jonestown resident, said he isn't necessarily a huge fan of the zombie genre, but admits "it's pretty neat."
"I'm not overly in to it, but it's interesting," he said.
As far as being prepared for a zombie apocalypse, Jackson said he is more worried about the power going out for a week than he is about zombies.
"During the flood last year, people were looking for water, batteries and things like that," he said. "I'm not trying to focus on any one area. I'm trying to cover them all. If it grows into something else, I'm open to that."