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January 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 1




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Good Co./Bad Co.: Feel the Love

Excellent Service, Good Terms and Free Shipping Earn Loyalty


What attracts specialty retailers to long-term relationships with their suppliers? Everything from excellent customer service and return-friendly policies to fast, free shipping and broad product selection. Net 90 payment terms never hurt, nor do fair prices or the ability to handle any issues that may arise, 52 retailers told TDmonthly Magazine. Below, take a look at products from some of the companies retailers cited most favorably when polled last fall, and find out why they like them so much. See full chart here.

(No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were chosen by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with ToyDirectory.com/TDmonthly Magazine.)




MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Wooden Toys
Preschool



These colorful wooden blocks, featuring all sorts of creatures from both land and sea, stack up to almost 3'. Package size is 5.75" x 5.75" x 5.7".
— “Melissa & Doug are phenomenal. They have great margins for volumes and are supportive. I wish we had five more of them,” Fred Meyer, owner of Meyer’s Toy World in Battle Creek, Mich., told TDmonthly in late 2008 when naming the company one of his favorite vendors. Forty-eight percent of 52 retailers surveyed praised Melissa & Doug as a favorite supplier.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21678      (added 12/10/2008)
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MSRP: $1.00
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties
Balls



This colorful, translucent ball rattles when bounced.
— "I like that they have such a large selection of merchandise. They have a low level for free freight,” Fred Gross of Multi Kids Toys Inc. in Boca Raton, Fla., said of Toysmith in fall 2008, when 19 percent of 52 retailers named the company as one of their favorite vendors.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21682      (added 12/10/2008)
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Age Range: 2 and up
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puppets
General Games
Preschool



In addition to the colorful sheep, hare and bear hand puppets, this set includes a die and a memory game for one to four players. It encourages role play, language development and comprehension of rules. Launch date: 2008.
— Lisa McMartin, co-owner of Wonderment Inc. in Minneapolis, told TDmonthly in late 2008 that HABA is one of her most-liked vendors because “they'll take individual orders in their dating program." Nearly 10 percent of 52 retailers named HABA as one of their favorite suppliers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21679      (added 12/10/2008)
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MSRP: $36.99
Age Range: 1 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler
Musical Toys
Battery Operated



Suitable for ages 6 months and up, this snail is outfitted with a shell that spins as it rolls. It comes with a five-piece stacker shell and one with colorful beads that move all around.
— “They're very easy to communicate with [and] their billing is straightforward,” Pat Cooley of Cooleykatz Toys in Livermore, Calif., said of this preferred vendor. Seventeen percent of 52 retailers named International Playthings as a favorite supplier in fall 2008.
— Two of 64 retailers named this product as a best-selling infant and toddler toy in March 2009.
— “It grows with the child and lasts,” pointed out Theresa Oppenheimer, owner of Toy World in Wayzata, Minn. Janet Hoo of Hoomade Toys in Phoenix, Ariz., told TDmonthly in spring 2009 her store sells about 40 of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21683      (added 12/10/2008)
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Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 4264
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play
General Toys
Creative Activities



Help the Police monitor the Police Headquarters. Prison cell comes with working door lock and breakout window and wall. The Police Headquarters is equipped with surveillance cameras and has a reception area, interrogation room, and a wall for equipment. Also includes three figures and many other accessories. Recommended for ages four and up. Choking Hazard. Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
— David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., likes Playmobil because its products are "not made in China, customers come back for more [and it offers] good play value," he told TDmonthly in fall 2008. Thirteen percent of 52 retailers named the company as a favorite.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21632      (added 12/8/2008)
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MSRP: $15.99
Gender: Girls
Category: Pretend Play
Gifts



This 15-piece set includes a serving tray, teapot, four plates, four saucers and four cups.
— "They offer good dating and reasonable amounts," Owner Katie Frederick of The Wooden Rainbow in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said of Schylling in fall 2008. Thirteen percent of 52 retailers named Schylling as a preferred supplier.
— The Schylling Children’s Tea Set was listed as a best seller by Candace Gooch, owner of At Once All Agog in Limerick, Maine, in spring 2009. “I love the fact that it looks like Fiesta Ware (for girls or boys),” she said. “It is a nice size, and easy to handle … even dads or grandfathers can pick up a tea cup with their big hands, but they need to learn to sip and not gulp.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21684      (added 12/10/2008)
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MSRP: $33.99
Gender: Girls
Category: Puppets
Plush



Another loveable face for the Folkmanis line of pooches, the popular labrador is known as a loyal breed. This puppy has a movable mouth to give out big puppy kisses.
— “The workmanship and expression” of Folkmanis’ puppets makes the company a favorite of Fran Anaya, owner of Golden Aspen Toys in Flagstaff, Ariz., she told TDmonthly in fall 2008, when more than 11 percent of 52 retailers named the company as a preferred vendor.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21592      (added 12/5/2008)
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MSRP: $13.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature
General Toys



This undercover fingerprint kit comes with file cards, an ink pad, a fingerprint speciman card, fingerprint lifting tape and powder, a magnifying glass and a paint brush so that little kids can record and identify fingerprints.
— “Deliveries are very quick,” Tim Hayes, owner of Learning Express in Sudbury, Mass., told TDmonthly of this preferred vendor in fall 2008. “The pricing is fair. They're easy to do business with and the product sells extremely well.” Nearly 10 percent of 52 retailers named Alex as a favorite supplier.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21681      (added 12/10/2008)
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MSRP: $19.99
SKU or Item #: 1188
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Christmas



This set includes supplies to make six handcrafted ornaments to give as gifts or to adorn the Christmas tree. It comes with hanging ribbon and gift envelopes.
— Creativity for Kids “offers kids 2 to 12 years old a craft they can do alone or along with other friends, [and the] prices are just right, too. Also, they have never given me a problem with returns,” Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., told TDmonthly in late 2008. More than 7 percent of 52 retailers named the company as a favorite supplier.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21911      (added 12/19/2008)
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MSRP: $2.99
SKU or Item #: 5510106
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls
Play Sets



These colorfully outfitted fairies are available in eight designs: Daisy, Rose, Honeysuckle, Bluebell, Damsel-fly, Lily, Tulip and Sweet Pea. Each comes with a wooden stand and has iridescent wings and limbs that are poseable.
— “Despite their recent difficulties, they stand by their product and maintain their commitment to small business,” Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toy Store in Anchorage, Alaska, told TDmonthly in late 2008, when more than 7 percent of 52 retailers named Small World as one of their favorite companies.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21912      (added 12/19/2008)
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From the company's traditional collection of wooden blocks made in the USA, this set features 68 blocks in 12 shapes: 10 units, 10 half units, 10 half pillars, eight pillars, six columns, 4 double pillars, four Roman arches, four half circles, four small triangles, four double flats, two roof boards and two double units.
— “They don’t require minimums,” said Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids in Madison, Wis., when naming BEKA as a preferred vendor in fall 2008. Two other retailers, out of 52, also listed the company as a favorite.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21436      (added 11/20/2008)
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Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls



This 14", soft-bodied doll wears a brightly colored outfit with rich detail in the fashion of London trends. She has sleeping eyes and long, brown hair.
— Two of 32 retailers told TDmonthly in October 2008 they expect Corolle dolls to be best sellers in their stores during the holiday season.
—  “They make it easy to do business with — that’s the bottom line,” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly about Corolle in fall 2008. Nearly 6 percent of 52 retailers mentioned the company as a preferred vendor.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21176      (added 10/31/2008)
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MSRP: $8.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill



This 60-piece puzzle completes to 14.5” x 10.33”.
— “They have a great range from little kids up to adults,” Cheryl Richmond, owner of Punkin Doodles in Havre, Mont., told TDmonthly of the Ravensburger line. Nearly 6 percent of 52 retailers named the company as a preferred vendor in late 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21913      (added 12/19/2008)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill



Four chair-shaped pieces of varying sizes combine to form one large, single chair that is the same shape. Hard (Level 3)
— “The thing that's important to me with the games I carry is I enjoy playing and promoting [them] to adults as well as the children. I feel that for adults they need to keep their brains active, and playing games like ThinkFun helps to do that,” Jacque Flagg, owner of Jacque’s Inc. in Bryan, Texas, told TDmonthly in fall 2008. Nearly 6 percent of 52 retailers named Thinkfun as a favorite supplier.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21852      (added 12/17/2008)
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Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 1343
Gender: Girls
Category: Animal Figures
Collectibles
Tween



This black-and-white Pinto is a horse at Pine Hollow Stables in "Horse Sense," a book in the Saddle Club series written by Bonnie Bryant.
— "Shipping has been really good" with Breyer, noted Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Center in Paoli, Pa., in fall 2008. Two of 52 retailers told TDmonthly Breyer is one of their favorite vendors.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21914      (added 12/19/2008)
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This licensed vehicle is outfitted with folding mirrors and a cab that tilts up to reveal the engine. The container  features a hinged rear and is removable,  so that other similar units can be put in its place.
— “Their deliveries are good, accurate,” Manager Rosie Morris of Whiz Kid Toys in San Luis Obispo, Calif., told TDmonthly of this preferred vendor. “They’re quick to fix problems, if we have any. And the quality is great.” Nearly 4 percent of 52 retailers named Bruder as a favorite supplier in late fall 2008.
— “They sell pretty evenly across the board. It's a strong category for us,” Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., told TDmonthly of her die-cast vehicles, 75 percent of which she orders from Bruder, during a July 2009 survey.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21915      (added 12/19/2008)
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MSRP: $16.00
Age Range: 3 to 12
SKU or Item #: 1115
Launch Date: January 2009
Gender: Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys
Fashion & Accessories



There are two sizes and two styles of Quiltis — bouquets of fresh color in hand-picked designer fabrics. Quilti Dogs are 12" and There are four prints of 12" Quilti Dogs and three prints of 9" Quilti Horses. Mini Quilti Dogs and Horses are called "Lil' Buds." There are three prints of each. Amaryllis is a bright crimson paisley with coordinating striped mane and chest. "There is a freshness in the fabric and the design that is very desirable. The Quiltis are gently weighted so they flop anywhere," Erika Radich, marketing manager for Douglas, told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 6, 2009.
— Tim Hayes, owner of Learning Express in Sudbury, Mass., named Douglas as a preferred vendor in fall 2008 because they are “local, high quality and [have] good turnover.” One other retailer, out of 52, also pinpointed Douglas as a favorite supplier.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21717      (added 12/12/2008)
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MSRP: $16.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: January 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Preschool
General Games
Puzzles & Skill



This game comes with a colorful spinner and corresponding shapes that fit into puzzle board with color-corresponding cut-outs. Launch date: 2009.
— “eeBoo is excellent,” Elizabeth Ryan, owner of Tales & Toys in Venice, Calif., told TDmonthly of this preferred vendor in late 2008. One other retailer, out of 52, also mentioned eeBoo as a favorite.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21549      (added 12/2/2008)
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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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