Argosy Toys sees sales soar following social media post

Published on: 20th September 2021

Owner Paul Wohl says he’s struggling to get through the messages left for the business since asking locals to remember independent retailers.

Westcliff-on-Sea’s Argosy Toys has been enjoying a major pre-Christmas sales boost following an impassioned sales plea its owner, Paul Wohl, posted on Facebook.

The viral post, which on Friday afternoon had been shared over 16,000 times and seen over 1m times, read: “Hello world! This is my shop. Please remember us this year if you need toys for Christmas. Really swimming against the tide of Amazon these days. They make billions in profit and pay a tiny percentage in tax. I employ seven local people and pay all due VAT and tax that funds our NHS. We have hundreds of Lego sets, as well as thousands of other toys, and we regularly help out Southend Hospital Neptune Ward and Great Ormond Street Hospital via the Elsie’s Elephants campaign.”

Thousands of Facebook users replied to the post. One, a lady named Jeanie Wall, wrote: “Is this the original Argosy toy shop along the London Road? I had toys bought for me here (and I’m an old lady) and also bought my children their toys here when they were very young. A magical shop for a child.”

Carla Dowling, meanwhile, commented: “These guys held my presents until Xmas eve then helped me secretly load the car (hiding presents in black sacks) into my car with my kids in it. Their customer service is beyond anything you will receive in any other shop. Unfortunately my girls are now in their late teens but I will never forget what you did that day. Thank you.”

Since the post went live, Argosy Toys has been inundated with messages of support and orders for toys – so many, in fact, Paul is struggling to keep up and says sales have been comparable to those made on a typical Christmas Eve.

He told the BBC: “After everything we’ve been through, the small businesses really suffered, but wow, this has been really amazing. We’ve had loads of people coming in and buying toys and they were all saying ‘we saw you on social media and we want to buy something from you’.”

Argosy Toys isn’t the only indie retailer to take to Facebook with a Christmas message early on this year. Midco Toys’ Dave Middleton has also penned a post urging consumers to support their local toy store. It read: “You may have read in the news that supply of toys this Christmas is going to be tight and some items will be extremely hard to find. Good news – we have been working around the clock to make sure we have the toys you want and need this holiday season. We have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in stock to make sure you can get the toys your kids want this Christmas. Not only that, you can join our Christmas club which allows you to pay a 10% deposit and pay as you go. We will even store your items until the big day. Support your local Toy store this Christmas. We pay our taxes, we support our local community and we work extremely hard to be the best we can be for our local customers.”


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