ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Before Cyber Monday existed, brick and mortar store fronts announced the holidays with elaborate decorations and presentations — half of which was typically animatronic characters.
Animatronics are lifelike robots that are often used in movies or for entertainment purposes.
Josh Darling is a fashion designer who took New York City by storm after graduating from the prestigious New York City Fashion Institute of Technology.
Darling said he worked on storefronts for several notable designers while in New York.
“I worked on Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Macy’s, Sacs Fifth Avenue and a few more," Darling said.
His fashion path helped his access hundreds of storefront animatronics, some of them were priceless and over 100 years old.
As a child, Darling's grandmother would take him to a local appliance store to view the animatronics and it was there that the spark was born.
“They had all of these little animated figures on top of their freezers," Darling said. "I always saw those as a child and I always wanted them. When computers came around and you could get on eBay, I guess that's when I started collecting them.”
Darling now has one of the nation’s biggest private collections and decided to display it for all to see in his hometown in Roseville.
"In this day and age, you know, they have the opportunity to [see it] and its creating new memories for them," Darling said.
Many people visited the mall to see Darling's animatronics display.
“This reminds me of when my father would take us to the mall and have displays outside the storefront," said Veronica, a woman from Loomis who took her kids to see the display.
Darling's collection is on display right by the Starbucks in the Roseville Galleria Mall through January.
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