Many Pokemon products have been in short supply, especially the cards. Here is a selective list of area stores that carry items, along with comments from parents, kids and the stores themselves about availability and limits on purchasing.
This is by no means intended to be comprehensive. Inventory changes rapidly, so stores that may have been well-stocked yesterday can quickly sell out, while those with sparse supplies may have since received shipments. Many places besides toy stores are selling items--video and music stores, greeting card stores, vendors who have carts at the malls, even gas stations.
Some stores, especially smaller ones, complain that they have more trouble getting Pokemon items from distributors. In some cases, they have kept their prices at the manufacturers suggested retail price, often quickly running out of stock. Other smaller stores say they want to meet the demands of their customers, and are willing to pay more to get items--costs that they must pass along.
Calling beforehand for the latest on availability, prices and any purchasing limits is a good idea.
Falls Church (703-204-1844)
Has a large selection of Pokemon products. Carries both Japanese and English trading cards, including rare cards. Other merchandise includes key chains, soundtracks and posters. Prices vary.
Georgetown (202-333-8650), Springfield Mall (703-313-0404), Fair Oaks Mall (703-273-3355), Columbia (410-715-4444)
Says it is the largest vendor of Pokemon products in the area, carrying almost every licensed Pokemon item (except video games). Booster cards sell for $2.95 a pack and theme packs for $9.99. Also carries Japanese cards.
Numerous area locations, including Montgomery Mall (301-365-0701)
Although each store's supply will vary, the general stock of Pokemon products includes trading cards, collectible cards, plush toys, import toys, puzzles, comic books, storybooks, video games and videocassettes. Depending on the amount in stock, there may be a five- to 10-pack limit per customer. The card packs sell for $3.99 for the booster cards and $10 for the theme decks.
White Flint Mall (301-816-1067), Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (703-418-0166), Baileys Crossroads (703-998-0404), Washington (202-466-4999)
Each store carries the trading and collectible cards at $11.99 for the theme decks and $3.99 for the booster packs, though store management warned that supplies sell quickly. Also sold at are Pokemon strategy guides, collectors guides, players guides, postcard books and videocassettes.
Books A Million
Potomac Mills Mall (703-490-3809)
This store is well-stocked with Pokemon items including trading cards. Weekly sessions where children can trade cards, learn game strategy, etc., are held at the store.
Burke Centre Comics
Carries a wide range of Pokemon products, including rare cards. Prices vary.
Well stocked with Pokemon items, including bottle figures, key chains, T-shirts, puzzles and video games. The trading cards, which are sold for $2.99 a pack, are often in short supply.
Ellicott City (410-461-8664)
The store is stocked with both American and Japanese trading cards. The prices of the English packs are $5, with a limit of two packs per customer, while the Japanese packs range from $7 to $30. The store sponsors a tournament, either on the last Saturday or Sunday of each month. Classes teaching children how to play Pokemon games are held each week.
The store has a large stock of Pokemon products, including the English and Japanese trading and collectable card packs, videos, comic books, stuffed animals, stickers, posters, figurines, key chains and other items. The domestic cards are sold for $4 to $5 a pack, the Japanese cards are sold for $7 to $10 a pack and the theme decks are sold for about $20. Purchasing restrictions: three of the basic packs, 10 of the jumbo packs. The store also hosts an instructional session for children each Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., beginning Sept. 5.
Numerous area locations, including Montgomery Mall (301-365-1913) and Landmark Mall (703-914-0021)
Although each store's supply will vary, all stock their shelves with Pokemon video games, domestic and import toys, and strategy guides, among other items. The trading packs are sold for $2.99 or $3.99 per pack and there's a limit of 10 packs per customer, or two 60-card theme decks, which sell for between $9.99 and $14.99 per pack.
Towson (410-583-7000), Galleria at Tysons II (703-917-9600), Shops at Georgetown Park (202-965-7000)
All three stores sell most things Pokemon, everything from American trading cards, stuffed animals and video games to yo-yos, bouncing balls and sticker sheets. The price of the cards range from $4 to $20, and there is no limit on how many packs a customer can purchase.
The Game Keeper
Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (703-415-5110), Springfield Mall (703-313-9761), Tysons Corner Center, 703-821-5468)
The store is well-stocked with trading cards, video games and many other Pokemon items, such as key chains, comic books and hats. The store is owned by Wizards of the Coast, the company that manufactures Pokemon cards. Cards are $3.29 per pack, and $10 for theme decks. The Pentagon City store sponsors a Pokemon league.
Silver Spring (301-588-2545)
This store stocks only a few of the Pokemon comic books.
Numerous area locations
Although the variety of Pokemon products will vary among the stores, the location in Waldorf sells everything from trading and collectible cards, board games and video games to stuffed animals and yo-yos. The regular booster packs sell for $3.99, while the jumbo booster packs are $4.99. Theme decks and Japanese packs are higher, at $14.99 and $8.99, respectively.
Phoenix Comics and Toys
This store sells trading cards, posters, domestic and import toys, videos, comic books, key chains, beanbag items, sticker sheets and many other Pokemon items. The Japanese card packs are priced between $6 and $7, while the American packs are between $3 and $4. The store does have a limit of from two to six packs, depending on the available supply.
Numerous area locations, including Pentagon City (703-415-3944)
Although each store's supply will vary, all carry trading cards (sold at $3.99 per pack), posters, T-shirts and videocassettes.
Cabin John Mall (301-299-8300)
The store sells both Japanese ($5.99 per pack) and American trading cards ($8.95 per pack), as well as theme decks, which are sold for $14.99 for the starter decks and $19.99 for other decks. The store also sells Pokemon school supplies, including notebooks and folders, and plush toys and figurines.
Toys R Us
Numerous area locations, including Tysons Corner (703-893-2223)
The store has had some problems keeping cards in stock, but now has trading and collectible cards for $2.99 a pack, as well as backpacks, plush toys and video games, among much else. Purchasing restrictions: two packs of cards per customer.
Whirligigs and Whimsies
The store sells both American ($5.99 per pack) and Japanese ($8.99) trading cards. The store just received a shipment of the new card game, Southern Islands, which sells for $10.95. Also sold are backpacks, lunch boxes, plush toys and strategy guides for video games.
On the World Wide Web:
Wizards of the Coastwww.wizards.com
Everyday Pokemon items are on sale, though in limited quantities.
Many Pokemon products are auctioned daily, but beware: prices may be inflated.