As Toys 'R Us shuts its doors nationwide, local independently owned toy stores seem to be thriving.
Kiddly Winks in Longmeadow is an institution. We checked in with the owner today, who said that they're actually not thrilled with Toys 'R Us closing, but they are looking at is an an opportunity for smaller shops like theirs to show what they've got and why they are still in business.
For many western Massachusetts parents and kids, Kiddly Winks has been the go-to spot for children's toys, books, and clothes for 32 years and counting.
Owner Joy Leavitt told Western Mass News that she's proud that receiving a gift, wrapped in legendary Kiddly Winks Paper, is considered special.
"We're been thriving in our community because our head is full of children every single day. We are well curated in this store. We have an incredibly educated staff. Some of been here for 10 years, up to 15 years, so they really know toys and kids and they know their customers," Leavitt added.
Leavitt's reaction to Toys 'R Us closing: "Actually, we're pretty sad," she said.
With all 800 Toys 'R Us stores closing up shop nationwide, Leavitt said that she's most concerned about the future of all of those vendors, many of whom she shares.
"Our vendors lose 800 doors and where are they going to put all those toys...and we hope that our vendors stay in business and have healthy cash flow," Leavitt explained.
However, Leavitt also sees it as an opportunity.
"The community loves us here. They want us here and we'd like that same opportunity with all those Toys 'R Us customers that might want to come and visit us. There are hundreds and hundreds of local toy stores all over the country and we're hoping that it will turn people's heads and make them try to see what it's like to shop at an independent store," Leavitt said,
Leavitt store thrives, she said, because customers realize the value of staying local.
"To be supporting independent retailers really makes a difference in a community. When you shop locally, your money goes back to your local community," Leavitt added.
Kiddly Winks also has toys and gifts for infants and toddlers. Leavitt hopes as Babies 'R Us also closes, more customers will turn to independent, locally-owned stores for those needs as well.
Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.