Mint moves to a small town


WEST FORK – Shire Post Mint, known for its collector’s coins related to popular and classic book, movie and TV franchises like “Game of Thrones” and “The Hobbit”, has a new headquarters, with operations of manufacturing, offices and its first ever retail store.

The 7,000 square foot approximately one acre space at 52 Main St. in West Fork, Washington County features round hobbit-style windows and a front door. The gate is painted a shade of bright green.

The new location doubles the company’s workspace and helps centralize operations compared to its former private location in Springdale, which was spread across multiple buildings.

“It has already improved,” said Helen Maringer, managing director of Shire Post. “Now we have everything in one building and we can communicate better. “

Woody Maringer, Shire Post’s mint master, said that since the company’s business was mostly online, there was no need for it to open a retail store in a bigger city, so West Fork, a short drive from Fayetteville, seemed like a good choice.

Gallery: Shire Post Mint in West Fork

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“I live in West Fork, and a small town seemed pretty well suited to me,” said Woody Maringer. “Northwest Arkansas north of Fayetteville is growing so rapidly that it seemed like a better idea to bring more businesses south to provide opportunities for people who live south of Fayetteville.”

The Shire Post retail store will showcase its own products and have space for other local manufacturers selling a variety of items, including chopsticks and teas. The company employs around 13 people and is looking to hire at least two more in the near future.

Helen Maringer added that the opening of the location follows a new deal for the Mint. She stated that Shire Post had licensed through the Jim Henson Company for the 1986 film “Labyrinth”, produced by George Lucas, directed by Henson and starring David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly and a multitude of characters. by Muppet – including Hoggle, Ludo and Sir Didyme. Helen Maringer, who has been a fan of the film since childhood, said she was thrilled with the deal.

“It’s a really big hit,” she said.

Shire Post Mint began in 2001, but it was in 2003 that the Mint’s founder, Tom Maringer, made an agreement with George RR Martin to license coins based on the “Game of Thrones” books. Martin which went on to become a hit series. on HBO. Martin insisted that his licensing deals with several small businesses, including Shire Post, be maintained as part of his deal with HBO.

In addition to A Game of Thrones coins, Shire Post Mint manufactures coins under license from several other fantastic franchises, including “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman, “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson, “Conan the Barbarian” by Robert E. Howard, Patrick Rothfuss “”The King Killer Chronicles”, “The Demon Cycle” by Peter V Brett and JRR “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien.

Licensing is a trade agreement in which one company gives another company permission to use its intellectual property – branded or copyrighted material – usually in exchange for some payment.

Shire Post Mint has been making coins full time since 2010 and today manufactures over 150 different coins, sold individually or in sets, and produces approximately 100,000 coins per year. The company also produces its own unique items, including jewelry, coins, wax seals, and gifts.

Helen Maringer said the company has managed to survive and even thrive during the covid-19 pandemic for a variety of reasons, including its business model based on in-house production, online sales channels and a loyal customer base.

“Our existing clients have shown their love for us in a tangible way,” she said.

In response to emailed questions, Brandon Hovath, an access to capital specialist at the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said that although he did not know Shire Post’s particular situation, some of the centre’s customers have been doing well during the pandemic.

“Most of these businesses are run by entrepreneurs who have looked for opportunities to pivot and continue to serve their customers in new and innovative ways,” he wrote. “At the heart of entrepreneurship is innovation … those who are constantly looking to perform familiar tasks in new ways can be successful. Understanding consumer behaviors and keeping the customer at the center of the organization usually yields positive results. for companies.”

According to the Licensing International Trade Group Annual Industry Overview, global licensed goods and services revenue was $ 292.8 billion in 2019, up 4.5% year-on-year previous and the largest increase in the six years since the start of the report. The entertainment / characters industry generated the most sales with $ 128.4 billion, or around 44% of the total market share. The US and Canadian markets accounted for 58% of the world’s licensed goods and services with revenues of just under $ 170 billion, according to the group’s website.

According to market research firm IBIS World, the online antiques and collectibles industry has performed well over the past five years, with sales increasing 5.3% per year to 1.00%. $ 6 billion in 2020. The company expects revenue to grow 3.5% per year over the next five years. . The segment includes those who retail or auction antiques and collectibles, such as coins, jewelry, books, figurines and memorabilia.

In addition to its new digs, Shire Post Mint recently acquired Rare Element Coins, a maker of tokens and coins for use in popular role-playing and tabletop fantasy games. Rare Elements Foundry was founded in 2013 by Miya Sohoza and Kerry Bodenbender from Cincinnati. Shire Post Mint will incorporate Rare Element Coin designs into new coins, jewelry, and wax seals.

Shire Post intends to expand its new space to make it a destination location. These plans include sustainable gardens and landscaping, space for food trucks, as well as store tours, book readings, and outdoor events.

“We follow where our heart takes us,” said Helen Maringer.

Tom Maringer of Shire Post Mint shows off a handful of newly minted coins at the company’s new facility in West Fork. The local company has contracts to manufacture collector’s items for various book, television and movie franchises. Visit for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette / Andy Shupe)

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