Retailers Recommend Fabulous Products
retailers recommend Fabulous ProductsJanuary/February 2011
Tim Holliday of Children’s World in Sarasota, Florida
“As a product recommendation for other retailers, the first thing that comes to mind is Zoobies. We sell a ton of them. I think the knock-off brands have actually helped drive sales of the original, better product! We offer embroidery services here, and personalizing Zoobies is huge for us.
“Spot-It! from Blue Orange is hard to keep in stock. It’s a cool game that comes in a little tin and can be played four different ways. It works on memory and recognition, and every age can play. I know firsthand it’s popular with ages 7 to 87: I play it with my dad, who’s in a retirement home, but if I want to be fair, I have my 7-year-old play him. For the price, it’s an unbelievable deal.
“We recently brought in Glow puzzles from Great American Puzzle Factory (distributed by Fundex). They have become wildly popular in the few months we’ve had them.
“WEDGiTS from ImagAbility sell well here. It’s a unique building system that, depending on the set used, can appeal to kids ages 12 months to 12 years. The pieces for very young kids are big and soft. The ones for older children are smaller, and there are more pieces per set for a lot of open-ended play.
“The classic game Five Crowns from Set Enterprises is a constant seller for us. People come in all the time looking for it. We sold one yesterday, another not long ago, and as I was just walking past the display, two older women were discussing what a good game it is and what a great gift it would make. It’s got a semi-cult following, I guess.
“We’ve seen a big upsurge in the popularity of COBI military-themed building block sets imported from Poland by Imex Model Company. It uses the same machinery that LEGO uses, so the blocks are compatible. Their kits range from $10 to $100. Most of them are in old-fashioned army green or desert tan colors – tanks, Hum-Vees, Jeeps, planes, helicopters and so on.
“The Greatest Dot to Dot books from Monkeying Around do very well, too. We carry the whole line, and they’re all very popular. The Super Challenge titles are hard to keep on the shelves. They’re different – the dot-to-dot puzzles have, like, 1,500 dots in them. They start and stop, and they’re just neat.”
Kathleen Tutone of Treehouse Toys, Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire
“I absolutely recommend games for the early spring, especially if snow is still on the ground. It’s very important for youngsters to be involved with each other and with their parents, and games bring families together. Plus, there are a ton of great ones on the market right now.
“I Can Do That! The Cat in the Hat from I Can Do That! Games is fun for younger kids. It’s a very active game, and anything that keeps little kids active inside is good to have.
“There’s a new game out from a young creator in Boston. Anomia from Anomia Press is good for older kids and adults, especially if they know a lot of random facts. Anomia gives players an opportunity to get to know each other better as they play out their hands. It’s fun when everyone tries to beat the others to the punch.
“When the weather starts to get warmer, the kids are in a hurry to get outside. You can spot them wearing shorts, even before spring really arrives. Outdoor toys do very well then, like the Pump Rockets from GEOSPACE International. Air pressure launches the rocket high into the air. They say they’re for ages 5 and up, but all of the dads seem to like them as much as the kids do. They’re popular with older kids, too.
“We have done well with pogo sticks. We get ours from SBI Enterprises. I think they have a lot of retro appeal. People who had them as kids are buying them.
“Zartz by Zing look like giant arrows with a suction cup on one end. It sticks to many different surfaces. Kids can play with them inside or outside.
“We sell a lot of Astrojax by ACTIVE PEOPLE. It’s sort of a cross between yo-yoing and juggling. It has three balls; two are stationary and one slides, and with just a flick of the wrist the balls move in a way that demonstrates centripetal force. Players control the balls’ movement by adjusting the way they move their arms or hands. It’s a great active toy that can be done inside or out.
“I should mention kites. They sell very well in the spring if we get a little bit of wind and it’s not too freezing out. We’ve tried different brands over the years, but I always return to Premier Kites. They’re made really well, and the kits come with everything you need. I am proud to carry them in the store. The graphics are great, and the stunt kites are awesome. They help you look like a champ, even if it’s your first time flying a kite.
“Sand toy play gets kids out after a long winter, and Bruder trucks are a great way to encourage that. We love Bruder. It’s a German company that exceeds expectations in terms of durability and a realistic look.
“A lot of customers are paying attention to ecology these days, and because of that, products like the trucks from Green Toys have become very popular. They are made in California from recycled milk jugs. They are completely recyclable, and can be used to teach kids important lessons on recycling.”