In the May edition of Talking Shop, Toy World caught up with indie retailers to hear how the first days of trading after lockdown went.
Toyshops in England and Wales reopened their doors in a week when the sun came out and so did the customers. We heard what items were top of their wish lists and how retailers have found the general mood in store.
Paul Carpenter of Totally Toys, Bristol, told us that the day he reopened, he didn’t want to go home at the end of the day – it was so exciting to have customers in the store. He reported high footfall and queues. “The atmosphere has been so warm and friendly, with customers thanking us for opening back up. We’re the ones that should be thanking them for remembering we’re still here,” he said
At Imagine Toy Shop in Holmfirth, Maggie Tibbenham also enjoyed an impressive initial surge; a source of huge relief. “We spent a large amount of our government business grant on stock. I wanted to be well prepared for reopening by making sure I had everything my customers could possibly want – every corner refreshed, every shelf packed,” she said. Maggie was delighted to find children eager to spend their savings, treating themselves to one or two big-box toys and an assortment of smaller treats.
Meanwhile, Dave Tree at All the Cool Stuff in Fordingbridge is pleased that his store remains a destination for families on a day out, with kids delighting in seeing product ‘in the flesh’. “For those kids, toy stores are just wall-to-wall exciting new stuff,” he explained. “If I’m excited by it all, I can’t begin to imagine how awesome that is for a kid…”
Enthusiastic customers have also been experienced by Dee Mellor of Salter Street Toys and Models in Stafford, who spoke keenly of how she works in conjunction with other Toymaster members to exchange stock, and how helpful Playmobil has been in ensuring the shop has eye-catching window displays.
In Berkhamsted, Jon Scrivens told Toy World that local kids have been waiting to buy toys from Hamlins Toys, rather than seeking them elsewhere. “Customers are aware of what they’ve been missing, and they appreciate getting it back,” he told us. Jon also speaks highly of the support network and members’ forum that Toymaster provides. “With Toymaster, we don’t feel alone,” he told us.
In Leeds, Lisa Clay of Armadillo Toys has found more people treating their own children, and relatives treating grandchildren, nieces and nephews. “It was really nice to welcome everyone back, and basket spend is definitely up overall,” she told us.
Philip Baldwin of Crookilley Toys Emporium in Bramhall said: “There’s a general feeling of confidence in the shopping experience, and people are clearly taking pleasure in heading back to their favourite local shops. Here’s hoping for as quick a return to normal as possible, and plenty more customers in the meantime.”
The full Talking Shop feature contains much more on how these retailers have found trade as they reopen. They share which lines are currently their top sellers, and look ahead to the rest of the year.
To read the full article, which appeared in the May article of Toy World, click here.