The latest retail holiday pop-up is The Toy Shop, at 407 E. Adams St., located next to Café Moxo in a space that was formerly home to the law office of Cavanagh & O’Hara. Two Springfield moms, Sharon Havey and Nancy Peterson, had both independently thought about such a venture and felt there was a need for a store selling the type of toys that were not otherwise available in Springfield.
Peterson said, “We are testing the waters to determine how well a toy store would work in this area and really hope we get feedback from our customers to determine if we can make a long term commitment.”
Havey echoed the need to understand if their retail dreams could find an audience and said, “So far, the general reaction to those who know about us has been tremendous, and we know in a climate where bricks and mortar stores are having difficulties that we have to truly offer products that are unique, desirable and affordable.”
Havey said that both women had wanted to pursue this type of business for some time. “Personally, we had gotten to the point where we were seeking out toy stores when we were on family vacations and road trips. It’s hard to find something unique that can not only entertain your kids, but be passed down. So many toys these days are disposable.”
She noted that last year, Itty Bitty Fashion Truck opened a holiday pop up store in the same space The Toy Shop now occupies, and they were able to translate that into a permanent location.
“People say they want a toy store in Springfield and want to shop local, rather than traveling to larger cities for more options. We’ll see if that translates to people actually walking through our door,” said Havey. With Kidzeum getting ready to open and parking garages nearby, plus the Farmers Market, she and Peterson believe their block on Adams could be a great permanent location if things go well. “There’s definitely a built in clientele in this part of downtown, and we’d love to maintain that vibe.”
Based on their varied work and parenting experience, Havey and Peterson have a unique perspective of child’s play. Havey was previously the education coordinator for the Springfield Art Association while Peterson is the former development director of St. Agnes School and Parish. The pair has known each other for many years and now that each of their youngest children has started school, they are ready to share their knowledge of toys with a broader audience.
While most of the items in The Toy Shop are geared for infants through age 12, Havey notes there are also a variety of board games and mind puzzles for all ages. “We tried to pick games where people could interact among the generations,” she said. “Our youngest children are both four years old, but between the two of us the others range from elementary school to junior high and even older. We’ve seen things come and go, what lasts and what doesn’t.”
The Toy Shop opened for business on Friday, Nov. 17, and will stay open through the holidays. Hours will be: Wednesday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.