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July 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 7
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Good Co./Bad Co. – Who's Fair to Specialty Stores?

Cooperation and Quality Win Hearts and Wallets


“Ravensburger is a great company to deal with.” Dan Willis, Communique Toys
With additional reporting by regional correspondent Dennis Furlan

Via phone and email, 129 specialty toy- and gift-store owners named for TDmonthly Magazine their favorite and least favorite suppliers.

The “good co.s” — 94 manufacturers each spontaneously cited by at least one of 80 specialty retailers — had favorable terms, permitted small orders, always lived up to their word, communicated well, and had high-quality products that sold.

Here’s who retailers said were fair: (Percentages are rounded up or down to the nearest integer. Owing to the nature of the survey, some retailers requested anonymity):

ToySmith
Fair: 8 percent
“They're fast,” lauded Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore. “They always have a pretty good deal to get low freight. They take a percentage off the price. We don't have to order very much to get it.”
Unfair: 0 percent

Schylling
Fair: 6 percent
“Schylling is fantastic. [The company] treats me like a professional,” said another retailer.
Unfair: 0 percent

Ravensburger
Fair: 5 percent
“Ravensburger is a great company to deal with. They have a ramp-up buy at the beginning of the year. They have the ability to place re-orders for free freight at a lesser volume,” raved Dan Willis, owner of Communique Toys in Seattle.
Unfair: 0 percent

Folkmanis
Fair: 4 percent
“I do really like Folkmanis. They are a good company that really understands what it takes to keep a strong specialty line working over the long haul. They never have sales, they never have freight deals, but they've almost never screwed an order up. One of the hallmarks of the 'big boys' is we have to watch our invoices like hawks for errors,” offered a practical Frances Finfrock, owner of Aunt Franny's Toys in Richland, Wash.
Unfair: 0 percent

Gund
Fair: 4 percent
“Best by far: Gund,” stated another retailer.
Unfair: 0 percent

HABA USA
Fair: 4 percent
“The quality is very good, the prices are moderate, and the toys have learning value,” Marilyn Sipila, owner of Toys Etc. in Poulsbo, Wash., said of the company.
Unfair: 0 percent

Manhattan Toy
Fair: 4 percent
“Manhattan Toy seems to be very easy to get along with. They tried a few times to do the ‘you have to buy this to get this’ push, but they realized that since they were targeting the small toy retailer, that it just wasn't worth the hassle and let us order what we want and not what they think we need,” shared an anonymous retailer. “Thank you, Manhattan Toy!”
Unfair: 0 percent

To see products from these and other companies toy-store owners like working with, click here.

To find out which companies haven’t been making the grade with some retailers, see Who Makes Specialty Storeowners Weep?

And to see who’s simultaneously “good” and “bad,” depending on the retailer, see Those Love/Hate Relationships.



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