toys

The holiday shopping season may not be in full swing yet, but this weekend is still the perfect time to visit a locally owned toy store. This Saturday, November 8, specialty toy retailers across the United States and Canada will celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day to rev up for the holiday season and remind shoppers and Santas alike why buying local matters.

Each year, Neighborhood Toy Store Day is celebrated on the second Saturday of November thanks to the leadership of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). ASTRA has more than 1,300 member toy stores across the country, and the annual celebration grows larger every year.

"Neighborhood Toy Store Day is about telling the specialty toy story and we are so pleased that participation on the part of retailers, manufacturers, and sales reps continues to grow," said Kathleen McHugh, president of ASTRA.

On Neighborhood Toy Store Day, participating retailers will have fun, in-store activities to show off the high-quality toys they offer and the superb customer service they provide, even during the holiday rush. ASTRA supports and encourages the celebration by providing its members with promotional materials and themed resources. It's all part of an ongoing effort to set locally owned, specialty toy stores apart from the big box superstores.

"The event is about growing the specialty toy industry for all the retailers, manufacturers, reps and everyone else who depend on moms and dads and grandparents and others to buy children's toys at independent stores," notes McHugh. "Our members are creating fun, appealing events that fit their local market with the goal of drawing customers into their stores at the very beginning of the holiday season so toy buyers can see first hand what the neighborhood toy store has to offer."

No matter what the season, neighborhood toy stores do more for communities and customers than big boxes. As locally owned businesses, they return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the local community than national chain stores. As specialty retailers, they offer unique toys and gifts that kids will love and parents can trust to withstand wear and tear.

Whether you bring the kids along or sneak out to do a little early Christmas shopping, take advantage of the Neighborhood Toy Store Day celebrations this Saturday. To find a participating store near you, visit www.yourneighborhoodtoystore.org.

Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you're a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering at www.independentwestand.org/membership/.  If you're a consumer, take the pledge to buy local and find local businesses in your community at www.independentwestand.org/take-a-stand/join-the-movement/.