BETHEL, Conn. -- Being "spacially challenged" (at 710 square feet) means Kimberly Ramsey, the owner of The Toy Room in Bethel has to pick and choose her inventory carefully."It tends to rotate through quickly," she said.
And while needs certainly change, she said arts and crafts tends to be her best selling section. "Creativity is so important for the brain and not just limited to kids; I have quite a few adults who come in for things for themselves too," she said.
Also popular: the game section. "My family spends a lot of time at home playing games so I'm always looking for new ones," said Ramsey.
In general, she avoids mass-market and licensed toys so don't expect what's popular in commercials or on TV on The Toy Room's shelves.
Among her best-selling items:
- Tenzi (a dice game developed in Fairfield County)
- Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty
- Charm It Charms
- Baby Paper
- Silly Sticks by Maple Landmark
- Calico Critters
As for what might be "hot" for the holidays, she said she's seeing the following:
- Worry Eaters by Haywire Group
- Plush Crafts by Orb Factory
- Calico Critters and Breyer Horses
- Science Kits by Thames & Kosmos
"My gut tells me that I'll be selling a lot of Super Dough by Paulinda," said Ramsey. "Everyone who has tried it comes back for more and it's is one of those items where the 12 and 13- year-olds love it as much, if not more than, the 4 and 5-year olds."
The Bethel resident who has owned The Toy Room for nine years, is all about supporting local, eco-friendly and/or USA-made companies and tries to carry a variety of non-China made toys. She also has a nice selection of items that benefit/encourage those with special needs.
She also, for the record, has set up her store by categories and not by "boy/girl" sections. "It shouldn't matter what gender likes what toy," she said. "I wish more toy companies would use more gender-neutral packaging."
Her other wish? That toys didn't have ages printed on the packages because, "aside from the choking-hazard warnings, kids should be able to play with toys based on their interest and abilities," she said.
The Toy Room is at 153 Greenwood Ave., (203) 791-0531, www.toyroombethel.com/.
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