A new regular feature, Spotlight will focus on an interesting person, business or organization in town. This week's focus is on The Toy Room and owner Kim Ramsey.
When did you decide to start The Toy Room?
In May 2006. Driving home from a part time job at L'Occitane in the mall one night I had an "a ha" moment and decided that I should open a Toy Store in town. A few weeks later I signed papers for "The Toy Room"
I always knew I wanted to have my own store and be my own boss. Having been a manager for Pottery Barn & Williams Sonoma for many years I assumed it'd be in kitchenware or household items. I always found myself browsing in toy stores when we were on vacations and I had fond memories of having Palo Imports in town when I was young. When I thought about owning a toy store everything just felt "right".
What do like most about having a toy store in Bethel?
I love being part of the community, watching kids grow up, meeting new people.
What's your favorite toy in the store?
Mad Mattr Modeling Compound if I had to choose just one...but overall my favorite section is Games, I love, love, love all types of games.
Did you like toy stores as a child?
I fondly remember going into 3 toy stores as a kid - FAO Schwarz in NYC, Palo Imports and a small toy store near where my Grandma lived near Albany, NY. My parents always got me cool, creative toys for my birthdays and holidays - games, puzzles, crafts & art supplies, building toys...that is probably why I love those types of toys for my store.
How many items do you typically carry in the Toy Room?
We have over 1,200 different items in our store at the moment
What was the most popular toy this past year?
What do you like best about your new location?
The layout, the newness of the building, being in the hub of downtown, great neighbors, having sidewalk space out front.
What do miss about your old location?
It had a nice quirky feel to it with all the nooks and crannies & some great neighbors who lived behind it
What are the biggest challenges being a retailer in 2019?
Having to say "no" to customers when they ask for a licensed product or trendy toy - everything is so instantaneous nowadays that people expect to get what they want, when they want it, especially if it's a "hot" item. I tend to not carry the toys that are the latest "craze" of the moment - often the quality of those items is sub-par to my standards & I don't want to get stuck with inventory that I can't sell when it dies down. It's hard saying, "No" to customers when they call or come in looking for the "It" toy. Usually if they are in the store they'll find something else that's cool, but if they are calling it's hard to know if they'll think of us the next time they are looking for a toy.
What do you plan for The Toy Room for 2019?
More "Game Nights" and in-store events.
What would you like our readers to know about The Toy Room?
That we are so thankful & grateful for everyone who shops with us...that we are working hard to have cool toys for all ages (including puzzles and games for adults)...
What would you like them to know about you?
That I have an amazingly supportive family - Chris, Daniel (16), Matthew (21)...loyal friends who have helped me move into 3 different locations over the past 13 years...that I enjoy a good challenge & that I absolutely LOVE what I do.
One cool thing that has happened over the years is something we jokingly call the "call ahead concierge service"... customers will call, have me pick out something for them, pay over the phone and it'll be wrapped and ready for them to pick up on the way to the party...If they get a space right out front I can even run it out to the car for them!
For the past few years a family in town has me do it for them for their twins at Christmas...They give me a budget, I choose the items & wrap them up, they come and get them - it's a surprise for the parents and the kids when they are opened - it's so much fun!!!
The Toy Room 180 Greenwood Avenue, Bethel