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December 2013 | Vol. XII - No. 12
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Retailing Tips: Keeping the Job Fun

Working in a Toy Store can be rewarding - but exhausting. That's why TDmonthly asked retailers: "What are your top tips for keeping the job fun, even when it can be stressful?"

See what they said below, and keep their advice in mind as you power through the busiest time of the year!

Make the Job Easy

Empower staff to make the decisions that keep customers happy!  We take merchandise back without questioning, we allow customers to open packages to try things out, etc.  We try hard to work to the “yes” which makes everything else go more smoothly.
Mary Porter Green, Curiosity Zone, Ashburn, Va.

Make the Job Fun

We are currently doing some fun contests. 1. For the largest single transaction per pay period - a $25.00 Gift Card to Brio Restaurant. 2. For any employee holiday referral that we hire - a $25.00 referral fee. 3. We are doing some school shopping days where a % goes back to the school for school supplies. 4. We are also doing author signings for the upcoming holidays.
Diana Nelson, Kazoo & Co., Denver, Colo.

Always have good music playing and try to be really silly.
Dean Smith, JaZams, Princeton, N.J.

One day, we all wore Halloween stick-on mustaches for no reason. Another day, we all made bobble head headbands for no reason. We have lots of candy in the back. We try to keep the atmosphere fun. Little things make them feel special.
Melissa McCollum, Learning Express, Hoover, Ala.

Keep Merchandise Fresh and Always Demo

We're always getting new stuff in, and it should be demo'd, like Living Sand from Play Visions. It's always being played with at the counter by either staff or customers. Often, it's staff inviting customers to play.We took a Carrera boat out on a nearby lake to see what it could do. That got a lot of attention. Plus, we donate toys to charities and children's hospitals.
Richard Gibson, Learning Express of Newton, Newton, Mass.

We are constantly bringing in new inventory and re-organizing. It keeps the store fun to shop. Also, it makes you do something creative.
Kelly Ratoff, Kennebunk Toy Company, Kennebunk, Maine

Employees should be encouraged to actively play with the demos; it gets them more excited about items. When you know how to play a game, you are more excited to show it to a customer. Our employees also challenge each other, creating scavenger hunts for products in the store.
Yamil Castillo, The Red Balloon Toy Store, Salt Lake City, Utah

Do What you Love

After 33 years, I can still honestly tell you that I enjoy coming to work each day. Of course, as an owner, there are many stressful times as with any business. I do have fun with two aspects of my business; the excitement of finding a “cool” new toy and interaction with our customers. We have won many awards for customer service and we find it easy because my whole staff is full of “people-persons”.
Joe Berardoni, Pun's Toys, Bryn Mawr Pa.

Do what you love. I've been doing it for 25 years. If you can't be passionate about it, you need to change. Don't be afraid to change...It's all attitude. If all you do is chase the mighty buck, you'll never be happy. Make it a personal gauntlet to be positive. I know it sounds like Mary Poppins, but it's true.
Linda Graham, Scheffel's Toys, Inc., Jacksonville, Ore.

Playing with the kids, seeing their eyes light up when they see a rocket shoot or have a (toy) snowball fight in the store. It makes coming to work fun. And it's not just about playing with the kids. You put adults on a Spooner Board, and you see the adult become a kid again. For a kid to see their parents pogo jump - they're amazed.
Debbie Gray, Bear and Friends, Johnson City, Tenn.

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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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