June 19, 2024

TDmonthly Magazine

February 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 2

Tips: Finding Space for Success

Outside Rentals and Careful Ordering Keep Product Flowing

By Alison Marek
February 2008

“I put some of the toys in their boxes in the back of the store and cover them and use them as shelves.” Alison Cox, Animal Quackers
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Sheila Coyle, Virginia Davis, Ingrid Floyd, Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Brenda Ruggiero

Two related challenges for successful toy-store owners are: finding sufficient storage space when the trucks roll up to their doors and deciding what to do with merchandise that won’t budge from the shelves. Here are six tips from 45 storeowners interviewed by TDmonthly Magazine about how to solve those problems:

Rent Outside Storage Space. The nine retailers who use this strategy are able to take advantage of bulk discounts, despite a small store footprint. “The savings more than make up for the increased cost,” said Mary Porter, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va.

Follow Your Customer. “I’m in my store six days a week and order inventory by customer request,” advised Anna Barr, owner of Anna’s Toy Depot in Austin, Texas.

Juggle Toys. Five retailers said they are very careful about when and how much they order. That doesn’t mean, though, that they miss out on trends by being undersupplied. “If something is hot, we order all we can, but go with minimums on others,” Peter Schwlurf, owner of Mr. Toad’s in Naples, Fla., told TDmonthly.

Be Creative. “I put some of the toys in their boxes in the back of the store and cover them and use them as shelves,” said Alison Cox, owner of Animal Quackers in Raleigh, N.C. Despite the space crunch, “if a product is popular, I still try to order it.”

Rotation = Movement. Simply transferring stagnant products to another part of the store can get them flowing to the cash register. “Sometimes it’s just the display,” noted Owner Teneen Dobbs of Kits & Kaboodle in Carmel, Ind.

Keep Track. While eight toy-store owners still use physical counts for inventory control and six more supplement that old-fashioned method with a computer program, most storeowners account for every toy’s whereabouts in a database. The systems that retailers favor are Quick Books Point of Sale, Microsoft POS, and, for online retailers, software from

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