“Your mom owns a toy store?! Wow you must have the coolest mom ever”
Yup my boys grew up hearing this affirming message during most introductions. They were born after my “first baby” …The Village Toy Shop opened its doors. Breastfed behind the cash register, diapers changed in the store bathroom, sleeping amongst a hundred incoming boxes they grew surrounded by toys, toys, mountains of (high quality) toys! Eventually they volunteered in the warehouse, at special events, and even learned to help customers make their selections and ring their purchases in.
What wasn’t to love owning a toy store?
- Fun toy industry people
- Loyal loveable staff
- Travel all over the world to trade shows
- Abundant selection of top-tier products
- Life-long close customer relationships that spanned generations
- Easy to clean floors around the toy train table for those “accidents”
- Laughs and play everyday
- Variety and flexible hours …
So why on earth would anyone walk away from such a successful dream business?
The passion for bringing creative, engaging, and fun play to all ages never ceased over the 25 years in the industry, it grew! It multiplied into a need that went beyond toys and games. A deep desire to see play prioritized at work, in school, in families, and within our communities. I began to realize this mission would require a full time commitment.
I didn’t know what this new path would look like or how I was going to spread this message of the importance of play. Without a specific plan I still knew it was time for a leap, a huge risk, a scary move into the unknown.
I offered the store for sale to just 4 interested people and an ideal fit was found within just a couple weeks. This was happening – FAST!
Winning The National Best Toy Store of Canada award (from NETS: Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada) was a fitting feather to put in the cap just as I passed the ownership hat on. It felt like a parting gift. The transition was made easier by the fact that the new owner, Teresa, is a dear long-term friend. I was sure, and I have now witnessed, her nurture, care and grow this “first baby” (now a “teenager”) to new heights. Those loyal Toyologists and long term customers remain.
Stay tuned to see how this next adventure PLAYS out as I travel the globe helping those with challenges create solutions using play and playful techniques.
How are you playing big?
Where would you like to take a leap?
Get in touch to share where you are at on your own adventures.