Summer 2008
Profit from Play By Heather Johnson Durocher

Playing for Profits

Need more ways to sell toys? Check out these tips:

Consider incorporating a current shop fixture into your marketing. Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Specialty Toys and Books in Scottsdale, AZ, has a pet at her store—a dog named McGuire. Tanner puts out McGuire’s “Top 10 Favorite Toy List” every holiday season. Customers now come to the store excitedly in search of the list.

Try in-store demos. “You have to have year-round demos out so people can touch,” Tanner says. “Our customers give us great feedback and we share that through one-on-one interaction.”

Stage a game. Mark Mallardi, vice president of marketing for Educational Insights, says you could hold a tournament of the company’s largest-selling game product, Blokus. Indeed, some of the toy stores, bookstores and specialty shops that carry the board game have done just that. “It creates excitement on the retail level,” he says.

Shopping for Toys

If you are looking for special markets to shop for specialty toys, the following two might be worth a look:

At Toy Fair, more than 1,200 manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents showcase their toy and entertainment products, from classic toys to interactive entertainment and everything in between. Products include: action figures and dolls, games and puzzles, bicycles, tricycles and ride-ons, radio-controlled vehicles, infant and preschool toys, cars, trucks and trains, puppets and plush, audio and video cassettes, computer software and video games, playground and sporting equipment, Halloween, Christmas, books, stationery, party supplies, and more. Toy Fair ’09 will be held February 15-18 at the Jacob K. Javits Center and showrooms in New York City. Learn more at

The ABC Kids Expo to be held this year from September 7-11 in Las Vegas is a trade show for the juvenile products industry. Focus is on newborn through teen and the show stocks products beyond toys: furniture, room décor, baby gear and more. For more information, visit

Heather Johnson Durocher

Durocher is a northern Michigan-based journalist who writes frequently about business for newspapers and magazines. She has contributed to USA Weekend, Woman's Day, Parents and American Baby. Visit her website at

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