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Toy Fair: Specialty Stores Consider Stock Options

A Trendy Turtle Stays Within the Ranks of Retailer Favorites


“Anyone who places an order always orders a turtle.” Dana Conlon, cloud b
As do many specialty retail store owners, Patti Roden of Wonderland Books in Putnam, Conn., attends Toy Fair “to find different types of toys that are not in big-box stores.” Several retailers discussed their diverse list of favorites — including what they think will sell well — with TDmonthly Magazine.

Books and More

Roden, for one, scouted new books at Harcourt (ToyShow), where her orders included “Piggies” and “Pirates Don’t Change Diapers.” She also revealed that her store carries almost all of the Melissa & Doug line.

“That’s basically what we’re here for,” she said.

Erick and Tami Hull, who plan to open Sam’s Toybox in Eagle Mountain, Utah, this summer, cited Melissa & Doug products as well as Bruder trucks. They “work like the real thing,” said Erick, referencing one that actually smashes garbage.

Tami, meanwhile, was elated with the Corolle (ToyShow) doll collection. “I love every single one of them,” she said.

Turtle Takes All

Kimberly Haynes, president of Lollipop Toy Store in Dawsonville, Ga., said she likes the Thumball by Answers in Motion (ToyShow) and Cloud b’s Twilight Turtle, which projects a starry sky onto bedroom ceilings and walls and was introduced more than a year ago.

“Anyone who places an order always orders a turtle,” informed Dana Conlon of Cloud b. “It quickly became our No. 1 product and it hasn’t slowed down.”

Science Steps Forward

President Linda Kapnick of Ambassador Toys in San Francisco, Calif., told TDmonthly her store has “had an increased interest in science and math” — largely from mothers who are professional scientists — resulting in at least 10 percent sales growth in those categories over the past three to four years.

Ambassador Toys prefers Scientific Explorer and ScienceWiz from Norman & Globus (ToyDirectory), she said, as well as Thames & Kosmos (ToyShow), whose products are “very high quality.”

Pacific Science Supplies (ToyShow), Buyer Emily Holmes added, offers supplies as well as kits, so that kids can use science continually and in a real way.

Trends Remain

On the last day of the show, Amy Tarr, Internet manager for Kites, Tails & Toys in New Orleans, La., was eyeing a battery-operated penguin and Sudoku on a Puzzle Cube, which she said does well in their physical store locations, at the Westminster exhibit.

“They’re a staple for us,” she added, also voicing appreciation for Papo (from Hotaling Imports (ToyShow)) and Schleich (ToyShow) figurines.

“I do like Schleich,” said Lisa Kawamoto, manager of Thinker Toys in Ala Moana, Hawaii. “We’re going to order [wildlife, sea life and farm lines] from them.”

Here are products from the companies mentioned above:




MSRP: $10.95
Age Range: 0 to 3
SKU or Item #: 0152056327
Launch Date: August 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books



Written by Audrey Wood and Don Wood and illustrated by Don, this 32-page celebrated bedtime classic follows a zany pack of high-spirited piggies as they romp from fingers to toes and then off to bedtime. “This oversized, lap-sized edition board book is perfect for little hands,” Amanda Marples, associate director of marketing for Harcourt Children's Books, told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2005.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11561      (added 2/21/2007)
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MSRP: $16.00
Age Range: 3 to 7
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books



When the pirate crew turns up at Jeremy Jacob?s house and accidentally wakes his baby sister, that wee scallywag howls louder than a storm on the high seas. Sure, there?s buried treasure to be found, but nobody?s digging up anything until Bonney Anne quits her caterwauling. So, quicker than you can say ?scurvy dog,? Braid Beard and his swashbuckling pirates become . . . babysitters? Blimey!
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11213      (added 1/19/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $65.00
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: 02661
Launch Date: January 2003
Gender: Boys
Category: Wheeled Toys
Vehicles - Small Toy



This garbage truck features a trash compactor and a back end that tilts up to dump the truck contents. Each truck features tread tires and two small trash bins. “This toy is fully functional and designed to be used just like the truck in real life. This kind of classic play pattern allows for open-ended play that encourages children to think creatively and use their imagination. The basic controls and actions of the truck will need to be learned by younger children, giving them a chance to watch themselves succeed,” Noah McKiernan of Bruder Toys told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2003.
— Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., told TDmonthly that Bruder has been a best seller ever since she opened her toy store.
— Lynn Robillard told TDmonthly in summer 2007 that the second best-selling line at her store, Toys in the Attic in Manchester, Vt., is Bruder trucks, which customers like because they are plastic and can be left outside.
— “Big, beautiful trucks from Bruder [are] going to make great Christmas gifts,” Rick Henry of Stellabella Toys in Cambridge, Mass. told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11585      (added 2/23/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $90.00
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: K6755
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls



Seventeen-inch Baby Lea is Corolle’s new, multi-lingual, interactive baby doll that can communicate both her delights and discomforts in French, English, Spanish or Italian. Through a simple, well-hidden and secure battery system, little girls ages 3+ can activate her language skills using one of three included Corolle charm bracelets. Lea’s Teddy Bear charm enables her to speak English; her Bunny charm, Spanish; her Kitty charm, Italian. Lea’s native tongue, of course, is French. Specific, gentle touches and tickles to Lea will result in endearing realistic responses to little Moms.
— Corolle dolls were great sellers when owner Michelle Deutschmann of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., brought them in for the holidays 2006, she told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10887      (added 1/4/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $13.99
Age Range: 3 to 8
SKU or Item #: 1603
Launch Date: February 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Balls
Developmental Toys
Educational



Young Learners Thumballs are great for little hands to catch and toss as they work on developing skills. Bright primary colors are easy to focus on, and the balls are available in the following designs: Animals, for vocabulary development; Numbers, for development of counting and math skills; and Shapes, to enhance visual perception skills. “Thumball has a unique multi-paneled design and safe composition which offer a ‘pleasingly squeezable’ play experience,” Gregg Pembleton of Answers in Motion told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11144      (added 1/12/2007)
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MSRP: $34.00
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Infant & Toddler
Preschool



Each Twilight Turtle and Friends character from the collection projects constellation nightlights that create a magical sleep-time environment. Each “shell” illuminates the night with three soothing color options to help ease fear of the dark. The Twilight Collection includes Twilight Turtle and Twilight Ladybug, each available in three colors and a Twilight Sea Turtle that also has five illuminated windows projecting images of sea life.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming the Twilight Turtle as a best-seller since 2006.
— Six of 66 retailers mentioned one of the Twilight Turtles as a top-selling item for baby gifts in July 2008. Four of 47 retailers named Twilight Turtle as a top-selling baby gift in June 2009. Three of 64 retailers cited it as a top-selling infant and toddler toy in March 2009, and eight of 39 said the same in March 2010.
— In a 2012 survey, Erika Evers, owner of Dancing Bear Toys in Hendersonville, N.C., told TDmonthly that their best selling infant & toddler product is the "Twilight Turtle from Cloud B, and it's spin-offs, like the ladybug." They sell about 20 units each month.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at Toys & Co.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller
AD


Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Toys



Westminster brings to you not one, but three variations of the popular numbers and logic game. The wildly popular hand held electronic game has over 10,000 ready to play games, 4 Skill Levels, Timer, Hint, and an option to manually enter in a Sudoku game from your favorite magazine or newspaper. Prefer using pen (or pencil) and paper, the Sudoku Puzzle Book has 360 games compiled in a sturdy, hardbound book. All solutions are included. Up for an impossible challenge? The Sudoku on a Puzzle Cube is for you. Solve one side, or solve all size, this challenging game will boggle your mind. For more products please visit us online at www.westminsterinc.com
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11196      (added 1/19/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 5 and up
SKU or Item #: 0-35594-03080-5
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



This cuddly soft plush penguin dances to three fun melodies: “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “London Bridge” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and is activated by touch or touch and sound. Happy Penguin interjects "penguin talk" and sounds such as "Boing" and "Gibit Gibit.” It is 10 1/2" tall and 5" wide with a wing span of 13". Three AA batteries are included. “The penguin’s swaying and dancing coupled with the music and sound effects bring a smile to any face,” Brian Thille, sales and marketing manager for Westminster Inc., told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11589      (added 2/23/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $89.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: 41255
Launch Date: May 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Collectibles



The Phantom Ghost Ship from Le Toy Van looks like an authentic pirate ship, but also features a spooky skeleton and spider web design. With glow-in-the-dark skeleton fabric sails, it sets sail with two masts, rope ladders, two removable jail cages, a prison, a working anchor and an opening stern for greater play value. The wooden, durable Phantom Ghost Ship holds so many ghostly pretend-play details that kids will sail off into some spooky and great imaginative play. Launch date: May 1, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10450      (added 12/6/2006)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 244
Launch Date: May 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Kits
Aircraft
Science & Nature



How do airplanes fly in the sky? With My First Airplane Kit, children can learn all about flight. They can build and paint easy-to-make airplanes with pens, and then watch their custom aircraft soar through the sky. Next, using their planes and other components, they can conduct experiments to learn about gravity, lift, drag and thrust, the forces involved in flight. This kit “tailors the fascinating world of flight to the young child. Not only can you build, paint and decorate planes — but you can also use these planes to conduct experiments,” Susan Rives at Scientific Explorer told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2007.
— Idanna Smith, owner of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., cited My First Airplane as one of the best toys at Toy Fair 2007.
— Scientific Explorer experiments do well, Owner Fred Rosenberg of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
— Scientific Explorer is one of “the most accommodating companies that I have dealt with,” Joshua Grindstaff of Education Station in Coldwater, Mich., told TDmonthly in spring 2007. “They … allow for a very small minimum order, and the quantities that you have to buy of each item are reasonable.”
THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11700      (added 2/28/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $6.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: 16094
Launch Date: May 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Animal Figures
Collectibles



Created at 1:32 scale, this whale comes equipped with a booklet containing scientific data about it. Launch date: May 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11702      (added 2/28/2007)
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Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author

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