For the month of April, Blue Orange proudly names Toys to Treasure in Evansville, Indiana Store of the Month for their exceptional customer service. Toys to Treasure has been in business for 28 years and has worked with Blue Orange ever since they first saw Gobblet at Toy Fair. I had the pleasure to speak with Kathy, the owner, about her store, and she mentioned how all of their research about owning a toy store told them to attend Toy Fair in New York. Kathy and her husband found our booth—she noted it was very small at the time—and were impressed with our mascot game, Gobblet. Since that Toy Fair, Kathy and her husband have been selling Blue Orange games in their store.
When I asked how Toys to Treasure got started, Kathy answered, “Need.” The family needed another job to take on the bills. They started to consider owning a toy store after a few mishaps Kathy had with ordering items from home. At the time, Kathy was homeschooling her 5 year old daughter and 7 year old son. There was one situation where she ordered a cause and effect physics toy that she intended on using to teach the kids science. When she got it in the mail, she found the elves in the toy were made flimsily with felt and smaller than her thumb. “I could have made it myself,” she said. It was from these unfortunate misadventures that they decided to start Toys to Treasure. They wanted to get rid of the guesswork that came with shopping from a catalog or online and give people the sensory experience that comes with touching an item. She continued to home-school her two children in the back of the store, which gave them an immersive experience in understanding life skills and the world of business. Both children took up some part of their parents’ legacies; their son went on to sell jewelry and their daughter became a teacher.
Another quality of Toys to Treasure is their choice of games to sell. Kathy stated that they don’t sell games that the parents won’t enjoy playing as well. She wants the parents to enjoy playing with their children rather than feeling forced to play a game that they don’t enjoy (I’m sure the parents appreciate it). She mentioned that Pengaloo was a popular one among the customers, likely for that reason. Kathy mentioned quite a few other games she enjoys from Blue Orange. She thinks that Doodle Quest is fun “if people gave it a chance” and Sumoku is a great thrill for math lovers. She loves Fast Flip the most out of the 2016 releases. She also mentioned Gobblet (of course!), Thumbs Up, Ring It!, Double Shutter, Fastrack, Nada, and Draw 4 as great games for their store. In faith with the store’s vision, Kathy and the employees also make sure to know the games and play them with the customers.
One of the greatest qualities Adrien, our Blue Orange ambassador, noticed about Toys to Treasure was their excellent customer service. He observed that Kathy would always interrupt a meeting to greet a customer coming into the store. Kathy confirmed this, saying that they made sure to welcome all their customers (thought she hastily that you shouldn’t “attack” the customer as they walked through the door). They usually let the customer see the store and take in the “lay of the land” before going to greet them. Then they do their best to find the toy that’s best for them. Kathy uses what she’s learned from her Developmental Psychology and Teaching degree to find toys that are best for certain developmental stages. Often the customers will want toys for children at a specific developmental stage. Sometimes Kathy will search for a toy to occupy an 8-year-old’s time alone or she may find a game to help develop an autistic child’s social skills.
She advises people who want to go into the Toy Industry, “Don’t do it unless you like people,” and she stresses for store owners to “enjoy every person that comes into the store.” She emphasizes the importance in being a “good listener”. She’s learned that customers have a story to tell, and in listening to those stories, she has become a better and wiser person and has found many lifelong friends in her customers.
The store has grown over the years and touched the lives of many families. On their website, Toys to Treasure posts up testimonials of some of their customers. A few read:
“Going to Toys to Treasure is like walking back into childhood. The owners are friendly and they know their toys! They are always there to recommend the best toy for your child.” Robyn Merkel
“My sister and I both have small children and we love Toys to Treasure. I live in Sumner, Illinois and we go to Toys to Treasure every time we go to Evansville. We love that they carry so many educational toys. We were both home-schooled and we find it important to make learning fun.” Parent
“Toys to Treasure has been with my family since I was a little girl. I remember going to their store when it was on Morgan Avenue. I always loved their toys, in fact I am pretty sure I still have a few toys that I have kept for all these years. And now that I am a mommy we still enjoy the wonderful toys that they offer…Toys to Treasure is wonderful and I love what they represent…” Kristina
It’s been Blue Orange’s honor to grow with Toys to Treasure, and we are delighted to see how successful they’ve become and how beloved they are by the lives they touch. We are proud to award you Store of the Month for April and wish you the best as your store continues to bring joy to others.