It must have been around ten years ago now.
A good friend of mine was working at a place called FunFX in our neighbor city of Mishawaka, Indiana. The place is still there, and to describe it would be next to impossible. Think special effects and makeup store, meets novelty items, meets magic tricks and supplies, meets t-shirt printing shop, meets costume store, you get the idea. If it's neat, and you'd want it, they sell it.
Anyhoo, Damon was working there as an apprentice to Vic (the store's owner, to this day) working with makeup special effects, so I finally got up the urge one day to go in and visit. So, I'm in there admiring the almost ridiculous amount of neat stuff this store sells, and finally run into Damon. We chitchat for a moment, and then I notice a fair amount of the store's employees grouped together at a big counter on one side of the store. I ask D what the deal is, and he tells me to go have a look.
Apparently, when all this took place it was during the "upswing" of the yoyo craze, and the owner had dedicated a part of the store to selling yoyos and the myriad of jazz that goes with them, wedged right in between a giant rack of costumes and a bin full of fake dog poo. The employees were over there playing with them, and having a field day. I go, introduce myself, and before I can start asking questions I'm being shown the latest toys and tricks of the trade. One of the employees, a rather attractive redhead IIRC (and I do), had even incorporated yoyo tricks and narrative in her clown performance she did for children via the store. She was really good, and did things with a yoyo I still can't do to this day. (Which isn't saying much, sadly.)
At any rate, I spend a ton of dough in there over the course of a year or two buying yoyos, made a ton of friends both inside the store and out, and never even got my trapeze down before calling it quits.
Sadly, FunFX got out of yoyos entirely a number of years ago, when apparently the craze had died down. Here's hoping it gets big again so I can have my local yo spot back.
My first yo, which I bought that first day in the store, was a ProYo Turbo Bee, back when Playmaxx was still the parent company.
Of course, I've recently decided to give it a whirl again, this time for keeps.