Retailers Recommend Fabulous Products
Retailers Recommend Fabulous ProductsMarch/April 2011
by Anya Harris
Chuck Harper of Explorations Toys in Granger, Indiana
“The Press N Go Inchworm (1) from International Playthings has been a great toy for us. The play action is a big selling point. We always have a demo out. You push down on it and it takes off. Parents like that their babies who are just starting to crawl or walk can use it. For an infant toy, it covers a pretty broad age range – it’s recommended for 9 months and up, but it’s probably going to keep kids engaged up through about a year-and-a-half.
“The PlasmaCar (2) from PLASMART has been out for years but continues to be popular. I hate to repeat myself but there again, it’s important to demo it in the store. We moved here four years ago from a store that was carpeted. We sold maybe six PlasmaCars a year there. Now we have a Pergo-style floor and we’re selling hundreds a year.
“OgoDisks (3) from OgoSport are hand trampolines that offer a new and different way to play catch. They come in three different sizes; the smaller one’s a little bit bigger than a Frisbee. They come with a little soft ball.
“The Spooner Board (4) from Spooner is new and has really taken off. It’s sort of like a skateboard without the wheels, and it’s concave so it’s ‘spoon-like.’ It comes in two sizes. Kids as young as toddlers can learn to balance by rocking back and forth on it. Older kids do spins and other tricks. They can ride it downhill like a snowboard, even on grass. We brought it in just before Christmas and it’s been doing very well.
“We just started selling Doodle-Track Cars (5) from Daydream Toy and we’re really happy with the response. The technical aspect is cool – you just draw a line with any black marker or crayon and the car follows it. That gets people’s attention. You can go online and print out a racetrack, or kids can draw their own track.
“Zing Toys (6) has a new bow-and-arrow set called the Z-Curve Bow. It really works. We’ve had other brands in the store and either they don’t shoot at all, or they shoot only 10 or 12 feet. Our retail space is 50 feet deep, and I can stand at the front and shoot an arrow and hit the back wall easily. That’s a concern for some parents, but it’s safe for ages 8 and up. The bow comes with three arrows, two soft foam tips, and one with a suction cup.”
Dave Hughes of Bayside Toy & Hobby in Elwood, Indiana
“The Hot Wings die cast (7) from Just Think Toys are very popular. We’re selling a pile of them. The price point is right and they have a lot of classic play value.
“The Construction Series (8) line from Thames & Kosmos is also doing well. It’s for ages 8 and up, and includes kits on wind power and other environmental science themes. They reinforce concepts made popular by the green movement, Plainly. A child can build a functional windmill and generate electricity for about $40, which is pretty cool.
“We have a whole-wall spread of functional kitchen tools for children (9) from Curious Chefs (parent company Tailor Made). I don’t think it’s a traditional toy vendor. The company makes a pizza cutter, a range of spoons, blunt-tipped knives, measuring cups and more, all sized for kids’ hands. Instead of playing at cooking, they can actually help their parents in the kitchen. The price points are unbelievable, mostly in the $4 to $8 range. It’s a really cool line and selling like crazy.
“The basic 10-, 15- and 20-model Erector Sets (10) from Schylling sell well. They’re classic with retro appeal. I think parents relate tremendously well to them. People around my age who played with them growing up want their children to have something with a basic educational play value.
“Also from Schylling, Ambi (11) toys’ preschool line is very popular. Ambi is a Dutch company that’s been around for about 40 years. The whole line has terrific price points and a strong play value. Baby’s First Car is a standout. For ages 6 months and up, it’s well constructed, safe and basic, like all Ambi’s infant and preschool toys.
“BluTrack (12) is a young company, kind of a startup. It makes track sets that kids use with their HotWheels and Darda cars. It’s a terrific product, and sales have been incredible. They offer two lengths of track and some accessories that go with them. It is a more durable alternative to other tracks, and has two lanes so kids can race together.
“The Rory’s Story Cubes (13) game from Gamewright is also very popular. It’s just $8 and offers a great play value.”