ASTRA Launches Neighborhood Toy Store Day

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The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) this week announced the launch of Neighborhood Toy Store Day, to be held annually on the second Saturday in November. The campaign highlights the value that local indie businesses bring to their communities. This year’s celebration will be held on Saturday, November 13.

“There is a movement in this country to reconnect with our neighbors and to support the people and businesses that make our communities unique, special places to live, work, and raise our children,” said ASTRA President Kathleen McHugh. “Maybe because we are watching our local book, record, and toy stores disappear, we realize that we have choices in how to spend our resources to make sure they will be here for our children and their children to enjoy.”

On Neighborhood Toy Store Day, locally owned retailers will celebrate their uniqueness and the high quality toys they sell. “With this program we hope to inform consumers about the value these independent businesses have to the growth and stability of their communities,” explained McHugh. “Also, to highlight to parents they have the option of creative unique toys as opposed to the razzmatazz of electronic toy gadgets for their gift giving.”

McHugh noted that the customer who is drawn to an indie toyshop would also be drawn to an independent bookstore. “Customers who shop at local stores and businesses share similar values,” she said. “They appreciate the diversity these businesses provide to us as individuals, and they meet our needs for the unique and special products they sell.”

With such strong crossover appeal, McHugh considers indie toy stores and bookstores ripe for partnership. “Since our customers share similar values, cross marketing could be beneficial to everyone,” she said.

“I would encourage [ABA] members to contact their local toy stores to cross market and find ways to promote the day together. The message is not ours alone – independent retailers are vital to the communities they serve. Together we can raise this awareness for the benefit of everyone.”

In celebration of this year’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day, locally owned toy stores around the country are planning “Santa’s Helper” events, toy testing for all ages, crafting events, toy and game inventor meetings, children’s author readings, and toy drives.