Exclusive: Letter from America with Rick Derr

Published on: 14th October 2021

This month, Rick reveals lessons learned from the pandemic, looking at physical toy stores and how he believes their future is guaranteed.

Rick opened the first Learning Express Toys franchise in the Chicago area in 1996, and then became a sub-franchiser, opening nine more stores.

“Over the last decade or so, we all have questioned at one time or another whether physical brick and mortar toy stores can survive the growth of online services and, most of all, the rise of Amazon,” writes Rick. “It was only natural to question this existence as so many physical toy stores have disappeared, including the mother of all physical locations, Toys R Us, here in the States.”

Then came the pandemic. Nobody was certain what a new retail world would look like, even if they made it to the other side. With some perspective, Rick is now wondering why we were even worried.

He goes in to share his five takeaways from the pandemic, and comes to some very positive conclusions.

“As indie toy store owners, we have an important role to play in the lives of our customers, in the lives of children and as a vital part of a thriving community,” he finishes. “I wish the very best to all out there.”

To read the full article, which appears in the October edition of Toy World, click here.


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