Your local neighborhood toy store. They do still exist - in fact there are almost 2,500 in the US - and this holiday season The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is helping them shine with Neighborhood Toy Store Month. Small, local toy stores all around the country are celebrating with special events, hands-on experiences, and discounts.
"ASTRA initiated Neighborhood Toy Store Month to champion neighborhood toy stores across the country," said Sue Warfield, president of ASTRA. "The toy industry started with small retailers like these where customers could create special moments with their families and celebrate the joy of play. Today, shoppers can still find thoughtfully curated selections of high quality toys and games in their neighborhood toy stores and we want to encourage communities to continue supporting their small local businesses."
So why are small toy stores so important? "For a child, it is like walking into a magical world with toys everywhere... and ones that can be touched and played with!" said Warfield. "For parents, they provide individualized help in finding the right toy for the specific child that is age and developmentally appropriate, fun, a quality product and one that will be enjoyed by the child for more than just a few minutes."
Personalized experiences are few and far between at the big box stores, so there's something refreshing about the idea of someone taking the time to help you out. In addition to helping find the right toy for the child in your life, stores offer other services, including free gift wrapping, wishlist creation and hands on events throughout the holiday season.
If you can't make it to your local store, many do have online sites with both shipping or pick up at the store options. ASTRA has also created the ASTRA's 2023 Play Awards list which features toys that expert toy retailers across the country consider to be the highest quality and most sought-after items to have on 2023 holiday shopping lists.
For more information visit astratoy.org