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August 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 8




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Retailers Speak Out at ASTRA

New Toys and Pointers for the Specialty Market


TDmonthly Magazine asked specialty toy-store owners to pick their favorite toys at the ASTRA Marketplace in Las Vegas at the end of June. They also shared some of the key points they learned at the various symposia that were offered throughout the show.

Here's what they said, in their own words:

Videography and editing by Alison Marek.

Elaine Hackney, owner of Boing! JP's Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass.
Top pointer: Re-focusing on the customer-centric philosophy.
Patricia Masing, co-owner of Brain Station and Tree Town Toys in Ann Arbor, Mich., with son Keller.
Top picks: Illustory by Creations by You, Papo dinosaurs, LEGO, Baby Lia by Corolle
Terri Meyers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas
Top picks: Piano Made Easy by Mayron Cole Conservatory, Baby Lia by Corolle, Coin Hopping Games: Washington D.C. by Coin Hopping Games and Karito Kids dolls by KidsGive
Top pointer: Pay yourself first!
Andy Cannon, co-owner of Discovery Depot in Cookeville, Tenn.
Top pointer: Spend more time doing what you enjoy to improve retailing experience.
Randi Valenta, owner of Little Threads in Chicago
Top picks: YoBaby by GarageCo, Pump Rocket by GeoSpace and Bead Bazaar kits
Becca Bramhall, co-owner of Dandelion Toys in Fort Collins, Colo.
Top picks: Construction planks by Kapla, Brain Noodles giant pipe cleaners, Karito Kids dolls by KidsGive
Top pointers: Improve your bottom line. Meet the needs of kids with special needs.
Sally Erysian, owner of Circle of Knowledge in St. Louis, Mo.
Top picks: EzyRoller ride-on toy, Mini Solar Robot Kits by OWI
Top pointers: Improving sales. How to transition between parent and child ownership.

Emily Carter (13) and Alyssa Carter (8), daughters of soon-to-be toy-store owner Anne Carter. Yes! They allow kids on the ASTRA Marketplace show floor!
Top picks: Flying Turtle by Mason Corporation and PlasmaCar by Plasmart



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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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