Like book and record shops, the charming independent toy store has been virtually written off in this age of online and big-box emporiums.
But don’t talk endangered to Michelle and Paul Gillen-Doobrajh, the "mom-and-pop" team that opened Tildie’s Toy Box at 1839 E. Passyunk Ave. (near Mifflin) last summer “to a great response from the community,” Michelle said.
And don’t murmur extinction to the powers that be at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, a trade group representing 800 merchants, plus 1,000 sales reps and toymakers nationwide. ASTRA recently released its carefully vetted 2016 Best Toys for Kids Awards, “one of the few toy awards that doesn’t have entry fees, equalizing the field for small makers,“ said association president Kimberly Mosley. There isn’t an Elmo or Barbie, Razer ride-on, Airhog, or “collectible” anything in the bunch.
On Saturday, the indie toy-retailers association will open its holiday selling season with Neighborhood Toy Store Day at shops local and across the country (details at astratoy.org). Modeled after Record Store Day, which crops up again come Black Friday, Neighborhood Toy Store Day will feature “special value offerings and fun, free, in-store events,” Mosley said.
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