Are Small Toy Stores An Endangered Species?


going-out-of-business“Going out of Business” is becoming a common sign in toy stores these days.

At first it was the independent, smaller toy stores which, however disappointing, is not terribly surprising when costs are considered.  The bigger stores offer very little in the way of customer service, but have prices that can make that lack forgivable.

However, smaller stores offer toys not available elsewhere and the knowledge that each birthday gift is supporting the livelihood of those who work there directly.

When I was browsing at an outlet mall recently I was shocked to discover that one of the big retailers is going out of business – even the outlet versions of their stores are closing down.  When a huge store liquidates its inventory that is great news for bargain shoppers, but it may not be great news in the long run.

Once the competition is gone those big box stores won’t have much to worry about when it comes to pricing – they’ll be able to name their own.

At the small shops the toys tend to be more expensive, which is due in part to the direct cost of buying toys in smaller quantities, freight cost, employee pay, and store overhead.  The cost of doing business is passed on to the customers so that a profit can be made and the store can continue to operate.  Often the owner and employees of small toy stores live nearby.  When money is spent at a shop like this the money generally stays in the neighborhood through many facets.

With the big name stores the deposits are usually reported to the corporate location and are often wired out of state relatively quickly.  The employees may live locally (although the employee I met at the outlet shop drove over an hour to work each day to manage that location) and spend their income locally, but often the owners/investors of these larger stores live elsewhere & won’t ever even visit the location.

Now, whenever I see a locally owned toy store I go in and browse at the very least.  This could end up being an endangered species fairly soon.


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  1. Sad to see, indeed. I think we’re going to see quite a few more businesses and business types closing in the not too distant future. I really hate to see the non-chain and mom/pop stores close though…they’re near and dear to my heart, heh.

  2. It’s really sad to see stores going out of business not only for the employees but the fact that only the big boys willbe left and up go the prices.

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