The first in our week-long series focuses on the 2018 nominees for Independent Toy Retailer of the Year.
The British Toy & Hobby Association has announced the finalists for the Toy Retailer of the Year Awards 2018.
In the category Independent Toy Retailer of the Year (single store), the nominees are as follows:
Banba Toymaster, Dublin, Ireland
Originally set up in Dublin City in 1944 as a second hand book shop, Banba joined the Toymaster group in 1985 and became Banba Toymaster. The retailer moved into its current premises on Mary Street, Dublin, in 1991. The 12,000 sq. foot store is set across two floors, and prides itself on the knowledge of its staff and the customer service provided. Banba currently has 15 staff in total, nine of whom have been employed by the retailer for over 10 years. The store has over 15,000 SKUs in stock at any one time, and offers a huge range of jigsaws, model kits, board games and big name brands.
Thomas Moore Toymaster, Exeter, Devon
Having traded from the same building for over 100 years – making it Exeter’s longest running business – Thomas Moore strives to keep itself relevant to the local community with an emphasis on having fun. In-store theatre is used to create eye-catching and engaging displays for its consumers, and the shop also has a dedicated play area for children. As one of the biggest independent Lego accounts in the country, the shop boasts five life size statues including Chewbacca and The Joker, a Lego play table, interactive displays, Lego TVs and a year-round Lego window.
T & G Allan, Morpeth, Northumberland
T&G Allan has been selling toys for 50 years, offering a wide selection of products suitable from birth including brands such as Lego, Playmobil, Schleich and Sylvanian Families. This year the store installed a new Schleich POS featuring a huge lion, which has become a firm favourite with visitors to the store. T&G Allan operates a customer loyalty card scheme to encourage repeat footfall and sales, and offers a traditional toy store experience that allows parents and children to stay a while in-store and enjoy playing together.
In the category Independent Toy Retailer of the Year (2 – 29 stores), the nominees are as follows:
In 2018, Toytown aimed to cement its position as a destination retailer for toys, opening five new stores and upping its investment in the overall consumer experience. Having have worked hard on its staff knowledge and customer service, Toytown is ensuring that as the business grows, its level of service increases to match. The retailer has also been able to move into multiple ex-Toys R Us units and is proud to have hired a number of the staff from these to prevent people from becoming unemployed.
Formed nearly 10 years ago, following the demise of Woolworths, where the owners worked, Toy Barnhaus now operates eight stores, all in the southeast of England. The Toy Barnhaus Price Promise, which has been running for over two years, offers customers peace of mind that the retailer will match any other high street price. Playing a prominent role in the toy industry, co-founders Stephen and Mark have written a column in Toy World Magazine for over six years, providing an insight into how they run the business.
East Midland Toy Company
Whilst all EMTC stores are ambassadors for the Toymaster brand, each is unique and retains a strong feeling of ‘local toy shop’. Regular customers are the backbone of the business, and staff endeavour to listen to, and react to, their needs and wishes, as well as surprising them along the way. Providing a clean and fresh retail experience, a roll-out of LED lighting and high tech infra-red heating has ensured comfortable and bright stores where parents and children can feel at ease.
The winners of the prestigious Toy Retailer Awards will be announced at the annual Toy Industry Awards held at Olympia, London on Tuesday 22nd January 2019. The gala event, which takes place on the first evening of Toy Fair, is organised by the BTHA with the Toy Retailers Association (TRA), which will also present the Toy and Supplier Awards 2018 on the same evening.