TDmonthly Magazine!
October 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 10


My Best Sellers: Golden Apple Learning Store

Games and Construction Toys Make Customers Happy

Originally founded as a teacher supply store, the Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., has developed over three decades into a toy store that also caters strongly to educators. Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly Magazine which products customers buy the most:

MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: August 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Creative Activities

The 3-3/4” x 4-3/4” book comes with 36 different images and instructions for mutiple games. The set also comes with fancy, illustrated cards. Launch date: August 2008.
— These story cards were top sellers at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in summer 2009, Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly.
— “They’re like flash cards and graphics for making up stories. We’re going through about a dozen a month,” Lori Durie at the Learning Tree in Prairie Village, Kan., told TDmonthly of this top seller for learning in fall 2009.
— Two of 40 specialty retailers named products by eeBoo when polled about best-selling educational items in late 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19033      (added 5/22/2008)

MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 5 and up
SKU or Item #: 62705
Launch Date: August 2009
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Fashion & Accessories

An update on our classic Sticky Mosaics® Jewelry Box design, this product features a beautiful fairy and flowers to decorate it. It includes one numbered Jewelry Box and more than 1,000 sticky foam and jewel pieces. "While there are many other Jewelry Box kits on the market, ours stands above. Our easy to use number-to-color matching system creates perfect results every time, providing a child with an unparalleled sense of accomplishment," Damien Crocker, sales and marketing representative for The Orb Factory Limited, told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2009.
—John MacDougall listed Sticky Mosaics as best sellers in his store, Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in summer 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23862      (added 5/22/2009)

MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
SKU or Item #: 00300
Launch Date: February 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
General Toys

Calculated chances and strategic choices will place the odds in favor of players as they let the five dice roll them to a win with Yamslam. After each roll, a player chooses the dice that will get the best combination. Each combination is worth a different value and has only four chips, so it's important to take the best ones before they run out. Players race to get special bonuses before their friends do, keeping the suspense rolling until the end. The game has appeal for all ages and is convenient for travel, as it is "self contained in a beautiful tin box," Adeline Bertrix, sales manager for Blue Orange Games, told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 15, 2009.
Awards: Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products 2009; 2012 TDmonthly Top Toy Award. Why it won: This dice-rolling game from Blue Orange is fun for both kids and adults. With each roll of the dice players must strategize how they can win the chip with the highest point value. Without even realizing it, kids are learning basic math skills like addition and probability. The game is self-contained in a red tin, making it easy to play on the road or tote along to a party.  
— Yamslam is on the best-seller list at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly in summer 2009.     
— "Right now, a game called Yamslam is our best-selling game," said Sue Banducci of Games Unlimited in Danville, Calif., in late 2009. She was anticipating sales of about 250 units during December.    
— Three of 38 retailers cited Yamslam as a best-selling game in Feb. 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22171      (added 1/23/2009)

MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 00350
Launch Date: February 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games

The chickens are hanging out on their colorful wooden perch. But if one of them decides to leave, the whole perch will teeter. The goal is to collect as many chickens, hay bales and wagon wheels before the rocking perch topples. The chickens, hay bales and wagon wheels have different weights, meaning different point values. The player with the highest score wins the game. Selecting a heavier piece receives more points but entails more risk of making the perch topple. If a player causes the perch to topple, five points will be deducted from his or her total. "Two trees are planted for every tree used in the creation of this game," Adeline Bertrix, sales manager at Blue Orange Games, told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 15, 2009.
— Chickyboom is a top seller at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly in summer 2009.
— Three of 44 retailers named this game as an overall best seller in late fall 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23506      (added 4/28/2009)

MSRP: $39.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction

Kids can create an endless and mesmerizing cascade of marbles. This 180-piece set, devised by Torino, Italy-based Quercetti Intelligent Toys, includes components to build a motorized, height adjustable elevator that works with any marble run configuration. This set includes an exclusive double entrance funnel and spirals, as well as transparent tubes to view sneak peeks of the marbles as they progress through the run. It also includes extra long bridges, sturdy base pieces and real marbles. Two "AA" batteries not included.
— For adults in Portland, Ore., marble runs by International Playthings are a fun purchase, reported Sarah Green, manager of Kids at Heart.
— This product was listed as a best seller by John MacDougall, owner of Golden Apple Learning Store, in Pleasanton, Calif., in August 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7398      (added 3/30/2006)

MSRP: $69.99
Age Range: 2 to 5
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Outdoor Fun
Wheeled Toys
Infant & Toddler

Multi-award winning and multi-directional Wheely Bugs, distributed in the United States by Prince Lionheart, go backward, forward, sideways and 'round and 'round. These ride-on bugs have a magical mind of their own. Their bodies have a padded layer of sponge, which is covered with a tough polyurethane skin that can easily be wiped clean. Handmade and crafted from the highest quality materials, Wheely Bug features multi-directional casters and unlimited mobility on all level surfaces. “The fact that the Wheely Bug is multi-directional, encourages gross motor skills and at the same time is heaps of fun,” explains its appeal, said Sarah Eastman, sales and marketing associate at Prince Lionheart. “In addition,” she continued, “this is a great product for the specialty market because it is handmade and beautifully crafted. Now moms can let their kids play with bugs, worry-free.”
― Wheely Bug was a Toy Fair favorite spotted by Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas. It was voted Toy of the Year in BabyTalk's Dec. 2006/Jan. 2007 issue and received the 2007 Silver Award for Best Baby & Infant Product in The Netherlands.
— This handmade Australian toy earns gold stars for everything — wooden base, sturdy construction, simple design, adorable themes, easy-to-clean seat, multi-directional motion and two size options — all adding up to its receipt of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award.
— Two of 60 retailers in a March 2009 survey listed Prince Lionheart Wheely Bugs as a best-selling ride-in in their stores. The Wheely Bug was a best seller at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in summer 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10241      (added 11/27/2006)

MSRP: $34.98
Age Range: 5 to 11
Launch Date: April 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction

This magnetic construction set features 108 powerful magnets permanently encapsulated inside 18 jewel-toned square Magformers and 12 triangle Magformers. The magnets rotate to their attraction position upon contact, so Magformers always connect regardless of their polarity. Watch in amazement as Magformers "form" into three-dimensional structures. Magformers received an Oppenheim Gold Award as well as the 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. The product’s “magnetic connector concept allows the end user to create quick, magical 3-D models,” President Larry Hunt of Rainbow Products told TDmonthly. Launch date: April 2006.
— Lynda Blankenship, owner of Smart Toys & Books in Knoxville, Tenn. told TDmonthly in late Spring 2011 that Magformers were a best-selling construction toy.
— Magformers are a best seller at Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., Owner Michelle Smith told TDmonthly in Dec. 2008. “We have them on a play table,” she said. Magformers have been best sellers for at least a year at Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va., Co-owner Susan Blanton said in September 2009.
— Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Centre in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly during an April 2009 survey that he sells between 100 and 150 sets of Magformers per month. Magformers are also a best seller at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly in August 2009.
— Want this? As of 05/10/2011, this product was available for purchase at Smart Toys & Books
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7571      (added 4/14/2006)

Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties

These tiny truck erasers come in three colors and feature movable parts. Launch date: April 2009.
— Japanese erasers were big sellers in summer 2009 at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., according to Owner John MacDougall.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25306      (added 9/9/2009)

Made entirely out of recycled newspaper, Smencils are gourmet-scented pencils designed to retain their scents for two years. The tightly rolled newspaper is hardened around a core of No. 2 graphite, so it sharpens like a standard wood pencil. The Smencils are then soaked to infuse their fragrance, finished with an eraser and identifying sticker, and packaged in a biodegradable, corn-based plastic Freshness Tube. There are 10 scents available: Bubble Gum, Cinnamon, Tropical Blast, Grape, Cotton Candy, Very Berry, Black Cherry, Orange, Watermelon and Rootbeer. They are available assorted in packs of 10 (one of each scent) or buckets of 50 (five of each scent). 
— “One kid has it, then everyone has to have it. I've been selling buckets of those things,” Sherry Phipps, owner of School Crossing in Williamsburg, Va., told TDmonthly in July 2009 about why Smencils are a top seller in her store.
— Smencils are also strong sellers at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly in summer 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24946      (added 8/18/2009)

Brenda RuggieroWriter's Bio: Brenda Ruggiero is a freelance writer from western Maryland. Read more articles by this author


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