Meet TDmonthly's Retailer Reporters for Toy Fair 2015!
Follow us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK during Toy Fair 2015, starting Saturday, February 14, and you will get great feedback on the newest toys and best deals from the best of your peers:
Kate Tanner of Kidstop Toys & Books in Scottsdale, Ariz., is a former president of ASTRA and has been in business since 1999. Kate is a favorite toy-store owner for TDmonthly Magazine, owing to her enthusiasm in sharing her top-10 lists and insights into the marketplace. She was selected as a sponsoring store for a 2012 TDmonthly Educational Charity Giveaway, and was also a reporter for TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2014.
"There's only one reason why a toy-store owner MUST go to Toy Fair," stressed Kate. "We have to be first with the great toys. We are faster than the big-box stores. (My husband) Scott says that he can't understand why a toy-store owner would not go. That would be like a physician not going to Continuing Medical Educational meetings. Toy Fair is our CME."
Sari Powazek of Dollhouse and Toy Store Too in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been in business since 1977 and has twice won the honor of being a TDmonthly Charity Giveaway store – in 2012 and 2013, and reported for TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2014.
"Our store is going up to 5,500 square feet with a 2,000 square-foot play area for toddlers to age 5 with their caregivers," said Sari. "Our community will benefit from age-appropriate games that I find at Toy Fair for moms, dads and grandpas to play with in this space."
Fred and Karen Rosenberg of Toys & Candy on the Park in Kingwood, Texas. The Rosenbergs have been in business since 1971, and expanded to include an in-house coffee shop for weary parents to take a break in while their kids play. The Rosenbergs are subjects in TDmonthly's upcoming toy-industry documentary, which began shooting at Toy Fair 2008, and were Toy Fair reporters for TDmonthly in 2014.
"Our customers come in and say 'You have things we can't find anywhere else," said Fred. "We have to keep on the edge of the market and find the thing that people haven't seen. We're especially looking for boys crafts, because that's a market that's underserved."
Priscilla Moore of Mr. Fubs Party/Toys and More in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Founded in 1981, Mr. Fubs is the oldest toy store in the Miami Valley. It was voted Readers’ Best Choice in Toy Stores by the Dayton Daily News, and Priscilla was a TDmonthly Toy Fair reporter in 2014.
"I try to find things to start trends before they come trends," Priscilla told TDmonthly. "I always look for design in any kind of toy. The form, the color, the material. And I'm always looking for the safest toys because I was on the board of ASTRA when [the toy recalls] went down. So I will question companies, even if they have a safety certificate."
"I'm very excited!" Harold Herskowitz, owner of Toys for Thought in Lakewood, N.J., told TDmonthly. Toys for Thought is one of the largest (and most colorful!) independent toy store in the US. (Read Harold's reviews for TDmonthly here)
Herskowitz founded Toys for Thought in 2002, after he rescued a dilapidated 1906 Victorian home that was being used as a crack house. Once the building was renovated and repainted, he devoted 2,000 square feet of the home to high-quality toys. The store was so successful that it's undergone further, more colorful upgrades and the play areas have expanded to fill all 11,000 square feet of the building.
"We have a Lego room, we have an entire floor of puzzles and games, a room just for dolls, another for Hello Kitty, and a Brain Candy station at the front of the store," he said.
TDmonthly's Retailer Reporter Panel will visit select booths to give our readers feedback on some of the hottest toys and best deals of the show. We will be posting their feedback on TWITTER and FACEBOOK during the show and will print a summary of what they say each night in TDmonthly Magazine.
Don't delay! Become our FOLLOWER and LIKE our Page to have live feedback on Toy Fair starting on February 14!
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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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