November 2006 | Vol. V - No. 11
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Classics
Thomas the Tank Engine Stays on Track
Thomas the Tank Engine keeps chugging along, bringing with him dolls by The Alexander Doll Company and Corolle, construction by K’Nex and plush by Gund: That’s what 57 retailers across America told TDmonthly Magazine was hot among classic toys. There’s nothing “puzzling” about Melissa & Doug’s success either. Here’s what’s selling in the classics category:
This wooden railway toy is the classic among the Thomas & Friends line. Compatible with wooden railway toys from other manufacturers, this replica of the popular children's character embodies the hopes and dreams of mini-Thomas fans.
— “Thomas the Tank by RC2 — I sell 100 to 150 units a month,” Ray Goodhart, owner of Ages and Stages Toy Box in Arvada, Colo., told TDmonthly.
— Janelle Cedusky, manager of Cheeky Monkey Toys in Menlo Park, Calif., told TDmonthly that her best-selling wooden toy item is “Thomas the Train by RC2 in general, but especially the Wooden Railway System. It’s hard to specify how many we sell because all are popular.”
— "Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway is the perfect last-minute gift or stocking stuffer. [The] deep product line offers a wide range of price points, from $10.99 engines to deluxe sets," said Laura Mares, marketing manager for Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9119 (added 8/24/2006)
This alphabet puzzle toy was designed to combine fun and learning. It comes with large pieces containing letters and drawings that are visually and intellectually appealing to the growing mind. It’s handcrafted of solid wood.
— "We sell a lot of puzzles. Most of the ones we sell well are Melissa & Doug. They’re a really great company," said Rene Leonardi, assistant manager at Ouray Toys in Ouray, Colo.
— Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop has carried these chunky puzzles for a couple of years and said they are best sellers due to their graphics and play value. “Each puzzle piece stands alone and can be used for pretending as well as for the puzzle,” she told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— Rick Davis, from marketing at Melissa & Doug, told TDmonthly that “We just try to make it fun to sell our toys, and from what we hear from our vendors, customers, and from the media, it sounds like we’re succeeding.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9730 (added 10/23/2006)
Calin Charming Pastel is specially designed to encourage hugs and capture hearts. Thanks to the soft, beanbag body, this doll can be posed just like a real baby. With blue sleeping eyes and a pink-and-white striped outfit this 12” doll is perfect for ages 18 months and up.
— Fifteen of 57 retailers TDmonthly surveyed said that Corolle dolls were among the best-selling classic toys in their stores.
— In spring 2007, Owner Sally Lesser of Massachusetts’ Henry Bear’s Park stores mentioned Calin dolls, specifically, as best sellers. Corolle dolls are also popular at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., Owner Idanna Smith said.
— Maggie Moss-Tucker, public relations consultant for Corolle, told TDmonthly, "The bottom line about Calin is that it's truly one of the best dolls on the market. Its price, design, play value and accessories are what makes it such a great doll."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9262 (added 9/5/2006)
Made of comforting fabrics and textures, Gund Comfy Cozy 24" blankets are available in various styles and colors. They feature satin paw pads and are machine washable. A 12" size ($12.00) is also available.
— When asked for the best-selling classic toy in her store, Diana Gisolfu, co-owner of Sisters Kids in Springfield, Mass., replied, “Gund Comfy Cozies. We’re an authorized dealer because we sell so many of these. It’s like a blanket with a head on it. It attracts the grandmothers market.”
— “People just love plush from Gund,” was the simple but enthusiastic response from Debbie Wurzburger, owner of Toy Chest in Pikesville, Md.
— Gund plush was specified as a big seller by eight of 57 retailers surveyed by TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8507 (added 7/10/2006)
In this beginner’s version of the classic wooden building set, the pieces are big, but are specifically designed for little hands. It also comes in “School” and “Farm” versions.
— Lincoln Logs was among the best-selling classic toys for Sylvia Pudtice, co-owner of Giggles for Kids in Suwanee, Ga. She added, “What makes them so popular is that mothers and grandmothers like them, so they buy their kids something they had as a child.”
— Lincoln Logs was also a best-selling classic for Roberta Kennedy, owner of Abracadabra Toys in Greenville, N.C.
— Seven of 27 retailers told TDmonthly that Lincoln Logs was a classic best seller. Most said that the toy’s success was because of the ability of parents and grandparents to pass on the joy of the product to younger generations.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9731 (added 10/23/2006)
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A simple but classic toy product that never seems to go out of style, this set comes with 220 glass marbles, 10 shooter marbles and instructions for 6 games. It’s packaged in a wooden box that has a sliding lid.
— “I would say my most popular classic toys are made by Schylling. I think they’re so popular because it reminds the parents of their childhood,” remarked Julie Nicolazzo of Toy Boat in Hudson, Mass.
— When asked about the best-selling classics in their store, Chris Gale of Toys Games & More in Clayton, Calif., replied, “Probably the smaller things, things like marbles by Schylling.”
— Stephen Medina, communications manager at Schylling, provided TDmonthly with his thoughts: “It’s a complete set for the marble lovers. They’re made of real glass. It’s real clear. It’s got excellent packaging and is sturdy. You can take the marbles on the go.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9732 (added 10/23/2006)
This chest offers three exciting playscapes to provide fun and exciting imaginative play experiences. With one side open, the chest reveals the pirates’ cove, an inlet that needs to be protected from invading enemies. With both sides open, the chest reveals Treasure Island. The chest also acts as a storage container with a carrying handle so children can take the fun wherever they go. Moms will appreciate it as much as their kids.
— “Playmobil is made from high-quality indestructible plastic,” is one of the reasons the toy does so well, according to Harry Bolles, manager at Sweet Dreams in Berkeley, Calif.
— “My hands-down best-selling toy is Playmobil. Kids like it because you can play with it without it falling apart. It’s a play system. Everything snaps in,” was the enthusiastic feedback from Linda Graham, owner of Scheffel’s Toys in Jacksonville, Ore.
— Graham had even more to say about why this toy stands out in her store, “The hands, arms, legs and heads move. ... Their boats float. A lot of toys out there have boats that don’t float.”
— Carol Pilarski-Remis, owner of Marblehead Toy Shop in Marblehead, Mass., provided her reason for stocking Playmobil as a last-minute gift item: "We try to bring families together, while at the same time we want to encourage childhood independence."
— "Playmobil: we sell all their stuff. They just capture the interest of the child," commented Gerri Garniss, owner of Toys That Teach in Bothell, Wash.
— Rosie Morris, manager of Whiz Kid Toys LLC in San Luis Obispo, Calif., believes Playmobil is a great gift idea "for both girls and boys."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8936 (added 8/8/2006)
This classic set comes with 66 wooden and plastic Tinkertoy pieces to build big structures quickly. Kids can easily build lots of structures that swing, roll and spin. Every Tinkertoy Classic building set comes in a sturdy canister package with a metal lid and bottom. All pieces, except green flags, are made of 100 percent real wood. The starter kit contains four plastic flags, four pulleys, four end caps and eight connectors.
— “Tinkertoys” was among the best-selling classic toys in the store, according to Sylvia Pudtice, co-owner of Giggles for Kids in Suwannee, Ga.
— When asked about classic toys, Roberta Kenworthy, owner of AbraKIDabra Toys in Greenville, N.C., listed “Tinkertoys” as among the best-selling in her store.
— Tinkertoy was cited by Toys "R" Us on its 2006 guide for kids with special needs. Specifically, Tinkertoy was described as a toy that “challenges kids to think.”
— “People love Tinkertoys, as well as Lincoln Logs. We carry both of them because they're so popular,” Gail Small, owner of Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5673 (added 11/22/2005)
The never-ending track makes for never-ending fun. The looping track is made of natural, unstained wood. The wooden train and two trees are brightly painted. The sturdy 24-piece track measures 112” in length. Train cars are held together by magnets.
— "Brio wooden train sets," was the direct answer given by Paula Tremba, owner of One Two Kangaroo in Shepherdstown, W.Va., when asked which wooden toys sell well in her store.
— "We have Brio trains," said David Correa, buyer at Mrs. Tiggy Winkles in Tucson, Ariz. He added, "Brio is really dedicated to really good quality."
— In an early 2007 survey, Brio Trains were specifically cited by three of 51 retailers TDmonthly spoke with about wooden toy best-sellers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4890 (added 9/30/2005)
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Writer's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author
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