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« Costco and Amazon…filling the gap | Main | Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - The Toy Industry Continues to Impress »

March 23, 2011

Comments

Michelle Spelman

You pretty much described the experience that is to be had in local, family-owned specialty toy stores.

The "play-purchase" experience comes down to consciously choosing to create a memory-making destination rather than just a product source. Specialty retailers have a "human" factor - they're there, they're engaged. Their playful personality is part of the store environment. That can't be had in larger retailers where "play products" is just one department.

I've visited and studied hundreds of toy stores of all shapes and sizes in the last four years as I launch my family game company. I've observed the incredible efforts and human personality that go into creating the unique atmospheres that set these stores apart from the big box experience, and from one another.

We are lucky enought to have at least ten specialty stores around my hometown of Cincinnati. (That's an unusually high number per capita compared to similar cities by the way!) Each one offers a play experience that is different from the other and that larger retailers can't begin to rival. I recently wrote down my thoughts about what sets each one apart. You can read about them by clicking on my name below.

Mary Couzin

I'll never forget walking into FAO Schwarz the first time many moons ago. It was magical!

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