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January 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 1
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My Best Sellers: The Toy Shop of Concord

Massachusetts Store Thrives on Bugs, Uglys & Things That Twist


At the Toy Shop of Concord in Massachusetts, the customer is always right, Owner David Hesel told TDmonthly Magazine. Founded in the 1940s, the store may have an historic reputation, but its sales show that customers appreciate both classic and modern playthings — as well as the store’s progressively boutique structure. See the Toy Shop’s best sellers below:



MSRP: $20.00
Launch Date: January 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Gifts



This quirky, 14" plush pet is a helpful little fellow who aspires to be just like his owner. Launch date: 2009.
— Four of 44 specialty retailers named Uglydolls when asked about their best-selling toys and games in late fall 2009, citing sales from 25 to more than 100 pieces per month.
— Uglydolls are top sellers at the Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., Owner David Hesel told TDmonthly at the end of 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26257      (added 12/3/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 8 to 12
Launch Date: June 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Kits
Educational
Books



Kids may use this product to discover the continents, countries and captials of the world utilizing dry erase cards. Each card comes with an answer overlay for easy reference. The United States and its state captials are included. "It is a fun kid kit with an educational bonus. Great for students who are trying to memorize states and capitals," Carolyn Pickup, marketing assistant at EDC Publishing, told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 2009.
— EDC Books were on the top-10 best-seller list at the Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., according to Owner David Hesel in late 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23471      (added 4/28/2009)
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MSRP: $16.50
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Plush



Sanrio's popular character Hello Kitty comes to little girls in an 8” tall plush toy. Dressed in a candy-pink tutu and leotard with matching ballet slippers, this little ballerina is accessorized with Hello Kitty's recognizable bow in matching satin material as well as a tiny gold crown for her performance. 
— “I know it is a good product when people never return them,” Barbara Vininsky, owner of Jack and Jill, said of the Hello Kitty merchandise in her Montreal, Quebec, store.
— Hello Kitty products were popular at the Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., at the end of 2009, according to Owner David Hesel.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23883      (added 5/26/2009)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Educational
Award Winners



The fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month.  Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8301      (added 6/19/2006)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: HEXBUG-WORM
Launch Date: October 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Remote Controlled
Robotics
General Toys



The HEXBUG Inchworm is the first Micro Robotic Creature in the HEXBUG line to feature a full-function IR remote control. Users drive the Inchworm forward, back, left and right. A and B control bands allow users to control two Inchworms at once or multiple Inchworms on the same band. The product features a unique crawling and pirouette motion around its center pod foot. "This unique HEXBUG Micro Robotic impulse item is offered in a five-pack impulse counter display with five-color variety assortment," Joel Carter, VP of marketing for Innovation First, told TDmonthly. Launch date: October 15, 2008.
— The Inchworm has been a top seller at Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va., for at least a year, according to co-owner Susan Blanton in fall 2009.
— The Hexbug Inchworm is a popular item at the Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., Owner David Hesel told TDmonthly in late 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20882      (added 10/2/2008)
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MSRP: $24.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Board Games



Pentago Classic is a game that comes from Sweden, the country that brought the world the Vikings and the Nobel Prize. Swedes are known for their clever and simple styles, and this game is simple and stylistic but utilizes deep strategy and logic. Introduced in Sweden in 2004, it won the prestigious “Game of the Year” award in that country in 2005. Each game is handcrafted of wood and aluminum in a choice of three colors and includes glass marbles. "I'd buy one for myself, actually," said Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, who called the game "cool." Her first shipment had just arrived at the end of October. A fifth of retailers interviewed by TDmonthly after Toy Fair had already ordered the game.
— Pentago was a top seller at The Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., in December 2009, according to Owner David Hesel. “They have a working display, and we’ve sold 300 to 400 this year because they understand how to reach the customer,” Hesel said.

Watch Games Expo Video
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8123      (added 6/2/2006)
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MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 14 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Novelties



This set includes 216 powerful rare earth magnets that can be molded, shaped and snapped together in an endless variety of configurations. Each Buckyball has two poles — one repels, one attracts. Not intended for children. Watch video
— ''Pun's has sold about four dozen in the last month alone,'' Joe Berardoni, Sr., owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., shared with TDmonthly in the fall of 2010.
—Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean's Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., sold nine of 24 units in two days after opening a box for display, she told TDmonthly. Two of 39 retailers named Buckyballs as a best-selling travel toy in March 2010.
— Dean Smith, Co-owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells "probably 50" sets of Buckyballs each month.
— May 27, 2010 RECALL of 175,000 sets (prior to March 2010) with 13+ labeling violating a federal standard that powerful magnets not be sold to children under 14.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26179      (added 11/25/2009)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 4005556113231
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Educational
Gifts



The kid-friendly, 3D-puzzle globe is composed of curved pieces that fit together perfectly to form a solid, smooth ball without any need for glue. The 96-piece puzzle measures 5” in diameter when assembled.
— Ravensburger's puzzle balls are selling well for David Hesel, owner of The Toy Shop in Concord., Mass. "We just got a 5' one, which we just put into our window," he said in March 2008, adding that the store has sold 100 puzzle balls since January.
— Nancy Bloomberg, owner of La Toys Etcetera in Cedarhurst, N.Y., was impressed with Ravensburger puzzles at Toy Fair 2008 and recently bought “individual pieces in a new buying program,” she told TDmonthly. “Our area is heavily populated with orthodox Jews so it's important to have non-electronic toys; a focus on games, building and puzzles is generally very strong.”
— Three of 32 retailers said in October 2008 they anticipate the Puzzleball to be one of the best-selling toys for the holidays. “Puzzles are a great niche for us,” said Michele and Ken Gietz of Where’d You Get That!? in Williamstown, Mass., when discussing their best sellers in fall 2008. Ravensburger is among the various brands of puzzles their store stocks for both children and adults.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18171      (added 3/27/2008)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction



Darth Vader pilots this vehicle that first appeared in Episode IV: A New Hope. The original LEGO model debuted a decade ago, and this mold incorporates a new style, coloration and firing action. Includes Darth Vader and 250 other pieces.
— Two of 44 specialty retailers named LEGO when asked about overall best sellers leading up to Christmas 2009.
— Star Wars Legos are top sellers at the Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., Owner David Hesel told TDmonthly in late 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25816      (added 10/29/2009)
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MSRP: $14.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures
Collectibles



Surah, the lost one. Fate separated the sisters Surah and Sera, as one calamitous night Surah fell into the clutches of the princess of darkness.
— Schleich figures are top sellers at the Toy Shop of Concord  in Concord, Mass., Storeowner David Hesel said in December 2009. “They just put in a beautifully backlit displayer [at the end of October], and business has gone up 40 percent since,” he told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25805      (added 10/29/2009)
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Brenda RuggieroWriter's Bio: Brenda Ruggiero is a freelance writer from western Maryland. Read more articles by this author

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