jaZams store interio

Gift Shop Plus Winter 2022
jaZams By Debbie Eisele

This New Jersey retailer offers a welcoming environment and a place that offers a little "magic"

Co-owners Dean Smith and Joanne Farrugia opened jaZams in 1996, in New Jersey. The store specializes in children’s toys and books — Smith is the toy buyer and Farrugia purchases the books. The owners created a store with a welcoming environment and a place that offers a little “magic.”

Owners Dean Smith and Joanne Farrugia founded jaZams

“We don’t say we have one toy for everyone, we have one perfect toy for each child or adult you are buying for!” Farrugia shared. To create such a wonderful curated offering, Smith sources from about 500 vendors, including publishing houses and attends NY NOW, Toy Fair New York, ASTRA and some of the stationery and book shows. JaZam’s also turns to sales reps and other independent toy store owners across the nation to locate new and trendy items.

jaZams store interio

The most requested items in the store are Pop It Fidget Toys and “Pokémon anything.” The staff creates displays around a theme and rotates its end caps every two weeks. Smith noted the window is updated every four to five weeks and the entire store once a year.

jaZams store interio

Events and good deeds are part of jaZams’ appeal. Each year it hosts a block party that attracts between 2,500 and 3,000 people and it provides author events as well. Additionally, jaZams works with local occupational therapists to bring products to children and adults with special needs and sells books for the public library at a Children’s Book Festival.

jaZams store interio

“We just received a new item that at this very moment would have to be my favorite…it is a lamp in the shape of a book, and when you open up the book the pages light up, these are from a company called Gingko. I truly would be lying if I did not emphasize I love so much of what we sell,” Farrugia said.

For more information, visit www.jazams.com.

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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