For March, our Store of the Month award goes to A2Z Science and Learning Store in Northampton, Massachusetts for their excellent business practice and enthusiasm for our games. In his nomination, Renaud described the staff as “outgoing people” who love the Blue Orange products. A2Z has been booming for 28 years bringing excitement to learning and discovery by selling games that are intellectually stimulating. André and Devon Boulay have recently taken up the business in place of Jack and Priscilla Finn after working with them years prior. Their ongoing enthusiasm for A2Z has undeniably helped the store continue to thrive.
During the interview, André expressed a preference for “smarter” games. When visiting us at New York Toy Fair, he and Devon loved Dr. Eureka, Top That! and Gigamons. He loved how Dr. Eureka and Top That! made the players use their brains in new ways. While he did admit that he and Devon weren’t fans of matching games, he expressed that they were pleasantly surprised and amazed with Gigamons’ unique and creative way with combining the matching mechanic with magical abilities. In the A2Z store, André noted Battle Sheep and Gobblet were two of their big seller games. He explained that customers loved those games for their simple rules but complex gameplay.
André stressed the pertinence in engaging the customer with a game. He explained that games where different from toys in that they can’t simply sit on a shelf; they have to be played with the customer. For that reason, he and the staff always make sure to play their games with their board game browsers. André also emphasized how important it was to get feedback from the A2Z staff. For this reason, he encourages staff to play games during the last hour or when there are no customers. He only wants items that he or the staff would want on the shelves. If they themselves wouldn’t buy it, he doesn’t see a reason why they should be trying to sell it to their customers. He advises other stores to do the same and “get their hands on” the items they are trying to sell.
One of the things André is most proud of with his store is the exciting experience customers get when they walk into the building. Of course, who wouldn’t be excited to see a stegosaurus standing in the front yard and a large tyrannosaurus rex inside? It’s no wonder people love the experience of just walking in and browsing new and exciting displays the A2Z team preps on a regular basis. Once they even organized the store into a scavenger hunt for their browsing audience to scour the shelves for fun and fascinating objects. There’s no telling what A2Z might surprise their visitors with next!
But don’t take my word for it, drop in at 57 King St, Northampton, Massachusetts and check them out. The staff hold Yo-Yo classes Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 4:30 to 5:30pm, and they’re even hosting the A2Z Dog Bite Yo-Yo Club Skill Toy Night on March 18th. If you can’t drop in, visit their website!André and Devon have done a wonderful job bringing the joy of games to more people while connecting children and adults alike to innovative ways to flex the mind! Keep up the great work!