Publication: The Toy Book

Narrow Your Focus, Expand Your Reach

February 25, 2014

How Independent Toy Stores Can Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast Their Big-Box Rivals

By Joe Bona

More than 600 independent toy stores threw a party on November 9 to celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day. This publicity event triggered some heartwarming media coverage and was surely lots of fun for all involved. However, when you survey the retail landscape with which today’s independent toy retailers are forced to contend, you might wonder whether or not celebration is in order.

Even mass retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Toys “R” Us are nervous about the dawning of an era in which Mom and Dad can get all their Christmas shopping done in an hour or two simply by visiting In this $22 billion industry, how could an independent toy store hope to compete? The answer might just lie in the massive proportions of the toy business itself.

American consumers are rapidly becoming overwhelmed by the confusing array of choices in the marketplace. They live hectic, over scheduled lives, which makes the gridlocked drive to a cavernous big box store an unsavory option for many parents. The glut of homogenized, commoditized retail products has triggered a bit of backlash among some consumers. More […]

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