As a mom, I know that many of the toys advertised on TV look amazing but then sit unused in the toy box. When I enter my local toy store, I see items that I know my kids will love and use. With a special eye for relevance and all out fun, small toy store owners handpick each toy brand that enters their door and you feel it when you go inside.
I am much happier knowing that the toy store near me is stocked with both the unique and familiar as I browse from aisle to aisle, and I always see new things I know my kids will love. It’s all there beginning with non-mass market dolls to clever puzzles and quality wooden train sets. I definitely find the Woohoo factor in my local store!
Now, there’s an online resource for discovering the “Woohoo” near you. The recently-launched YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org site is a great resource for parents looking for the best toys on the market and for a way to support their local community. This website was created by ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) to help you discover the best quality toys on the market and to educate you about the importance of shopping locally and supporting independent toy stores.
The website content includes:
– Feature articles with expert advice on toys and play for children of all ages
– Up-to-date information on creative and educational play and toy trends
– Handy toy store locator with information on where to find the best toys in your neighborhood (Don’t forget: local, independent toy stores support the community and tend to offer many high-quality, specialty products not typically found at a big box store!)
– Calendar of local toy-related events
– Information on the benefits of shopping local
– Toy buying guide by age, including a section for children with disabilities
I strongly support shop local efforts. When you are buying your holiday gifts, please remember that where you shop can make a big difference in your local community. I’ve been an avid supporter of ASTRA (or the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) for many years, and I helped launch the first ever Neighborhood Toy Store Day in 2010. Neighborhood Toy Store Day is celebrated on the second Saturday in November, and there are celebrations and special sales at independent toy stores across the country. 2012 marks the third annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day, and I hope that the shop local effort grows even more powerful this year.
As a mom, I love the selection and service at independent toy stores, and I enjoy supporting mom & pop businesses. But I also understand the importance of local businesses in my community since I served as an elected school board director for four years. During that time, I learned first-hand the importance of having a vibrant community and a strong base of local businesses. The property taxes they pay help fund important educational programs for our children, and there is a lot of information available on the YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org website showing how local businesses create jobs and keep more money in the community vs shopping at a big box retailer or online retailer. If you support local businesses, please “follow” @thewoohoofactor on Twitter and “like” www.facebook.com/thewoohoofactor. You can help spread the word that where you shop matters.
(Disclosure: I am an ASTRA Ambassador, but I did not accept compensation for writing this post as I have en existing business relationship with ASTRA and support their mission so strongly.)