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IN THE PRESS
From 10/28/2023 Edition of the Times-News
By Robbie Nelms, Staff Writer
A Burlington resident has carved out his own creepy, kitschy corner at Granddaddy’s Antique Mall on Maple Avenue that stands out not only for what it sells but for its name. Crap-O-Rama. That’s also the name of Jason Lonon’s online business. He can Explain.
“I was designing posters for concerts, but when COVID hit, there were no shows. So I thought it would be great to make money off the crap that I like, and also be humorously direct with the business name... and it’s taken off” he said.
Lonon, 51, sells a number of oddities, such as tentacles in a jar and masks of creepy creatures reminiscent of something out of a 1950s or ‘60s alien or horror flick.
“My masks aren’t like the ones at the big box stores. They have more character” Lonon said. He said that he has always had a fascination for ‘50s nostalgia and oddities. “I’ve always loved campy, odd and fun things that remind me of my childhood. It isn’t all about the scare. There’s a place for camp in Halloween too.” Lonon said. “I love all of the things that they used to advertise in the back of comic books, like X-ray specs, fake vomit and plastic spiders. That stuff is fun for me.”
He also sells t-shirts with local myths and legends on them. “I thought it would be neat to feature myths like the Beast of Bladenboro on a shirt, kind of like the ones you’d get as a tourist to a new place” he said.
Lonon said that he isn’t a freaky, scary guy. “I’ve just pulled together a nod to what impressed me as a kid. As I got older, I had a longing to recreate some of that childhood magic. I hope that my shop and website can do the same for others too.” Lonon said.
Lonon’s life isn’t all kitsch, camp and horror. He moved to Burlington before his senior year at Williams High School, where he graduated in 1990. He is a self-taught graphic artist of over 30 years who designed vehicle wraps for the buses used by Burlington’s Link Transit and the High Point Transit System and for NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chase Elliott. Lonon also taught Computer Graphics II at Alamance Community College in 2001 and 2002 which consisted of Introduction to Photoshop and Quark X-Press, the page layout software of the time. He currently does high-profile freelance graphic design work, and even has 20 of his concert posters archived in the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC Chapel Hill.
Lonon has also played drums in a rockabilly band, The Tremors, based out of Greensboro for 20 years. “1950s nostalgia goes perfectly with rockabilly music” he said. I find joy in the toys and oddities of my youth, and I’m lucky to be able to work with and provide that bit of youthful nostalgia to others.
I’ve been blown away by the reception Crap-O-Rama has received both online and in my retail space. I can hardly do any work in my booth without people eagerly engaging me in conversations and talking about all of their shared interests. It’s thrilling to me.” Lonon said, “We appreciate all the hard work and effort that Tim Marco has invested into Granddaddy’s. Without him, we would not be a thriving community of hundreds of independent dealers who depend on Granddaddy’s to make a living.” Lonon’s wife, Kelly, has worked at Granddaddy’s for 13 years, and convinced him to start putting his art out on the floor and eventually open his own booth. They just happened to meet and get married on Halloween. It wasn’t planned that way, it just kind of happened. So, we wound up enjoying the Halloween spirit year round” he said. “We started decorating for this Halloween the day after Halloween last year.”
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