Crocodile Stores, in Cotgrave, opened its doors to the public earlier this month.
As reported by Nottinghamshire Live, the shop at Manvers Business Park was previously used as the company’s warehouse for its stock. But following the closure of a major retailer earlier this year, owners Matt and Sian Kirby say they spotted a gap in the market in Nottinghamshire.
Matt commented: “We had thought about a shop for a very long time. We had some difficulties in terms of the warehouse. Because we do a lot of volume on the internet we do have trucks around, which with toy shops is not a good combination. It would have needed its own entrance as well so we put it off for a long time. In the last two or three years, more houses have been built in Cotgrave, so that made us nearly do it, but when Toys R Us closed we thought there was now an opportunity for a toy shop.
“We thought we would quietly mention it on Facebook and then everyone decided it wasn’t going to be quiet and it got shared all over the place, so we have had a very busy start,” he added.
The company has continued to grow since launching in 2002 and today has a turnover of about £2.5m.
Matt explained the firm started after he grew frustrated trying to buy a climbing frame for one of his daughters online. He decided there was a market for selling frames online so he set about creating a website and started selling the products.
Matt said: “We started with just climbing frames and we went with one brand and then we expanded the ranges. One of the brands was owned by a toy company and they asked us to sell some of their toys. We then went from being busy in the summer (because of climbing frames) to being busy in the winter and the summer, because the toys were a much bigger market.”
The firm now boasts hundreds of loyal customers and after a stellar first few weeks in business – and Christmas around the corner – they are hopeful the risk of opening a physical store will be worth it.
Matt added: “There is not an immediate intention to go and open more stores. This is a very safe way for us to trial having a physical presence and all that involves. But if it keeps going as it has then it will be very hard not to.”