Blue Orange Games is lucky to partner with a fantastic bunch of retailers who are passionate about their businesses and supportive of our games. We want to do more to recognize the stores and individuals that make our mission possible. That’s how our new monthly spotlight on an outstanding Blue Orange Games retailer came about!
Our First Store of the Month
We are pleased to announce that Incredible Toy Company in Blowing Rock, North Carolina is our first Store of the Month for November! Arthur, a member of our sales team, nominated the store after participating in an awesome Play Day they hosted during his September visit. The owner Kathleen and her staff warmly welcomed Arthur and made him feel right at home. Arthur was impressed by their prominent display of our games in the middle of the store and by their vocal enthusiasm for our brand, which has lead Spot it! to be their long standing best seller.
We surprised them with a bouquet of blue and orange balloons, candy, and a certificate commemorating their achievement. I caught up with the owner, Kathleen Rowell over the phone to chat with her about her toy store and its success.
About the Incredible Toy Company
Incredible Toy Company sits on the main road leading to the nearest big town of Boone, NC, named for legendary frontiersman, Daniel Boone. A good amount of traffic passes by the store, including a lot visitors to a nearby local amusement park. To stand out, Kathleen had her charming, freestanding store painted a bright red with yellow trim. With its sheltered porch and spacious parking lot, the cheery toy store certainly looks inviting to the large number of tourists that pass through the area. Kathleen waxed poetic about the beauty and variety of her state and community, painting a romantic picture of North Eastern American life that I am eager to experience myself. Right now, they are enjoying beautiful fall colors and a plethora of harvest festivals. A favorite she mentioned is the Woolly Worm Festival, a 35 year old tradition that culminates into the race of fuzzy caterpillars along a length of string (there’s much more to it than that; over 20,000 revelers attend the winter welcoming event!).
Of course, I had to ask Kathleen how Incredible Toy Company got started and what made her open up for business. Twenty years ago, Kathleen and her husband were raising 3 small boys, and Kathleen was becoming frustrated that there was nowhere in town to buy quality toys. Having 11 years experience in retail, she felt confident she could do it better. She did her homework and when her youngest was just 4, she opened Incredible Toy Company. She has been fortunate to have the help of her husband who doubles as her carpenter and handyman. What a pal!
Kathleen and her staff are “big game people.” Their store sports an 8 foot high set of shelves spanning the length of wall full of 350 different games! There is also a separate demo table to easily show customers how to play. But it appears that Kathleen likes puzzles the best of all. She is proud of her extensive selection and the 3,000 piece puzzle displayed under glass on her store counter. The Incredible Toy Store is also a big distributor of Playmobil products, a favorite of kids for decades. Her shop wonderfully preserves the tradition of the best in playthings, loved throughout generations.
Because Incredible Toy Company is located near many ski resorts and close to neighboring states, Virginia and Tennessee, about 85% of her customers are tourists. She has found the most effective promotion has been adding her store in visitor maps and guides of the area. But for the tight-knit local community, fun in-store events like Arthur’s Play Day always do the trick!
When asked if she had a superstar member of staff contributing to the success of her store, she was quick to let me know that she couldn’t single anyone out because everyone actively contributes to the upbeat, happy atmosphere of her store. She said, “Working here is laid back and fun, not a lot of high pressure. They really have fun showing people Spot It. We like to play with them all!”
And there you have it, the not-so-secret to success and happiness: love what you do and stay positive!
Thank you Kathleen and the superb team at Incredible Toy Company in North Carolina for being a great example and friends of Blue Orange Games.
Go show them some love!