April 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 4
My Best Sellers: G. Willikers, N.H.
Ten Hot Tamales for a Cold Clime
The Breneman family has been in the toy business since 1978. Almost 30 years of success have taught them a thing or two about toys, dolls and games. Here are their top-10 best-selling toys. (To view the Retailer Spotlight on G. Willikers, click here.)
What happens when you build a house for the fairies to live in? Do they come to visit? Each time, as Kristen checks on her fairy house, there is an unexpected visitor. This enchanting story written and illustrated by Barry and Tracy Kane reveals how nature inspires children's imaginations and captures their hearts. The book garnered Top 10 Children’s Booksense Pick honors and made the Top 20 Hardcover booksellers list in the first month of sale.
— Jody Breneman, co-owner of G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H., told TDmonthly that “Fairy Houses,” the first in a series of books, is still her number-one seller.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11899 (added 3/13/2007)
This charming Summer Meadow set features farm animals and a wagon. The 1-2-3 sets encourage young children to explore a variety of settings and environments through imaginative play.
— Playmobil is a great seller at G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H., the Breneman family of owners told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11900 (added 3/13/2007)
The Bridge & Crane Figure 8 Set is the perfect introduction to the world of Thomas & Friends. It contains the exclusive Sodor Shipping Crane, Sling Bridge, Thomas, Sir Topham Hatt and more.
— Co-owner Bob Breneman indicated that although wooden trains, generally, have shrunk as a category, the RC2 Thomas the Train line is still quite strong and a best seller at G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H. In particular, the Figure 8 sets sell well.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11901 (added 3/13/2007)
Thok's plan is to convince all the other Piraka that he is on their side, and then betray them. He has the power to bring inanimate objects to life to serve him and spellbinder vision to disorient a foe. If those fail, he relies on his ice peg and ice gun to freeze enemies, and his zamor spheres to make them slaves. Thok comes with zamor spheres and a launcher. His Piraka eyes light up and his teeth glow in the dark.
— Pat Selby, owner of Calico Cats LLC in West Bainbridge Island, Wash, said these are a huge hit with boys aged 4 to 8.
— Karen Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt., said LEGOs are her top seller for that age group of boys.
— At G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H., this series comes in at 5th place of the store’s top sales points, the owners told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7822 (added 5/9/2006)
The Classic Potholder Loom by HARRISVILLE DESIGNS INC.
Other products from HARRISVILLE DESIGNS INC.
Kids can make colorful potholders for home, as gifts or to sell as a fund-raiser for school, church or a club. Potholder looms are one of those wonderful old-fashioned inventions still popular and useful today. The project is fun and easy to do for all ages. Cons: Colors are not vibrant; loops fray easily which makes finishing the edges especially difficult.
— Owner Bob Breneman listed traditional craft kits in sixth place for best-sellers at G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H. In particular, Harrisville Designs’ traditional Pot Holder Loom kits sell well.
— In late Spring 2011, Michelle Bears, owner of The Toy Store in Highlands, N.C., told TDmonthly that these looms were a best-selling activity kit at her store.
— Greg Larson, owner of Larson's Toys and Games in Columbus, Ohio, told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that the classic Pot Holder Loom was one of their best-selling arts & crafts items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11903 (added 3/13/2007)
Kids can create a “doodle” with a few rolls of the Doodle Dice. There’s a different doodle pictured on each card of the deck. When players build a doodle that matches one of the cards, they take that card. Players can block an opponent's turn or take one of their cards away. Players who collect one card of each color win. It’s the fun, challenging way for everyone in the family to be a "doodle artist." Instructions come in English and Spanish. For two to six players, Doodle Dice launched in February 2006.
Awards: A TDmonthly Classics Award for being an all-time favorite toy.
— As of 7/21/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 45 reviews on Amazon.com.
— "We like Doodle Dice from Jax. It sold well for us this last year even though we hadn’t seen it before," said Bill Rayment, co-owner of Toy Crossing in Harbor Beach, Mich.
— "A great game from Jax is Doodle Dice. It's inexpensive and made for varied ages," commented Bob Breneman, co-owner of G. Willikers Toy Shop in Portsmouth, N.H. It’s his 7th-best-selling product.
— Cindy Levine, president of Jax, told TDmonthly, "Doodle Dice involves very different game play. Participants from age 6 to adult have an equal and full chance to win. It engages players and has a style unlike any other game out there."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6845 (added 2/7/2006)
This 60-piece puzzle portrays a city scene with fire trucks to the rescue, and even comes with a toy LEGO figurine. A Police Duty version is also available. The puzzles received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award for 2007.
— Eighth place for top sales at G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H., goes to puzzles. Owner Bob Breneman told TDmonthly that traditional jigsaw puzzles have grown tremendously, and Ravensburger has grown in sales across the board. He indicated that the Ravensburger puzzle with Lego toys is a particularly popular item.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10515 (added 12/7/2006)
The best-selling Hugg-A-Planet, Earth, has a deep pocket. This is different. Kids can keep all kinds of stuff in planet Earth — money, secret stuff, jewelry, collectible cards, small toys, TV remote control, walkman, GPS, small cellular phone, a pocket organizer or travel games. Just about anything that would fit in a pant pocket can fit in the Earth Pocket™. It comes with three small soft animals.
— Hugg-A-Planet soft globes come in at 9th place on a list of top-10 sellers at G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H., said Owner Bob Breneman. In addition to being soft and pillowy, he told TDmonthly, they also encourage the development of geography skills.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8940 (added 8/8/2006)
Does your child have a favorite pet? Is it a cat, or a dog? Perhaps a duck, fish or a frog? They can wear one or more of these five brightly colored animal Friends Watches to show off their pet. The watches are sure to brighten up their day.
— Bob Breneman, owner of G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H., told TDmonthly that kids' watches are on his top-10 list of best sellers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9693 (added 10/13/2006)
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Writer's Bio: A professional writer/editor since 1984, Christine has spent much of her career in business and technical writing/editing. Her technical communications expertise is complemented by work developing curriculum materials for both print and on-line use in personnel training, and by work as both a software applications trainer and a writing skills tutor/one-on-one instructor. Read more articles by this author
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