My kids love visiting our neighborhood toy store. Whether it's to buy a birthday present for a friend, or to spend some of their hard-earned (and saved) allowance, or just to look and fantasize, there's something magical about gazing into their windows as we walk past, on our way home from an afternoon visit to the ice cream parlor. Loading everyone into the van and driving to the big-box toy store at the nearest strip mall just isn't as romantic! Besides, it's always nice to shop local -- it saves gas, helps the local economy, helps small businesses and grows a sense of community. Here are some benefits to shopping at independent, local toy stores:
They often have special services like gift wrapping or personalized toy recommendations from the staff.
They often host community events like story times or school fundraisers, and participate in other community events like Downtown Easter Egg hunts or Halloween Trick or Treats.
They reinvest their profits locally.
They tend to carry many of the high-quality, boutique and specialty products that may not be in larger retailers. Check out the Toy Buying Guide and annual Best Toys Guide at YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org, the new website of ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. They feature some amazing, unique toys you can find at your neighborhood toy store, like Tobbles Neo, a completely different kind of baby stacking toy, Zoob, a fun construction set, Tenzi, a frenzied dice game, or LoopDeDoo, a fun twisty bracelet craft kit. Zoob is one of my kids' favorite building sets, and they've recently come to know and love Tenzi and LoopDeDo (thanks to ASTRA and Team Mom, who sent us both toys to try!). They are awesome!
Disclosure: I received Tenzi and LoopDeDoo product samples via Child's Play Communications. Information about Neightborhood Toy Store Day was provided by Child's Play Communications. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.