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 Post subject: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 12:56 pm 
MINT!
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I'm curious about distributors/wholesalers. I'm in North NJ and exploring a local store with toys as one of the main items sold. Any thoughts on where to start? Thanks so much!


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 2:12 pm 
5th Horseman
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Best advice I can give you get in contact with Diamond Select the people that do Previews.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 5:03 pm 
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ABS
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Best Advice: Get friendly with the Lego and Playmobil people.

most action figure fans overlook these companies, but they will bring people to your store. Make sure you are aware of trends in toys, especially around the holidays.

Another good idea is to have some of these products on display in which customers (children and parents) can actually interact with the toy. Try the features, and see it operate before they decide to purchase.

more advice: I know profit margins are slim, when you're a small "Mom and Pop" toystore going against the big retailers. Don't be afraid to have a sale once in a while. Yes it cuts into your bottom line, but it frees those shelves for new product, and your edge against your competitors is going to be your friendliness with customers, combined with your product knowledge, and selection.

you do not want to be sitting on piles of unsold stock. The older something is, the harder it will be to sell. Yes, there comes a time when something becomes collectible again, and value will increase, but do you really wanna be sitting on something for 20+ years before you can move it, or do you want the latest and greatest drawing people into your store?


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 11:22 pm 
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I have a friend who has a videogame/toy store and he uses Entertainment Earth as his wholsaler. You might inquire with them.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 5:36 am 
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The problem with using Diamond or Entertainment Earth or some other secondary source like them is that you are automatically un-competitive on pricing. They are a wholesale/retailer and sell off case lots to other retailers meaning the mark-ups are sometimes a bit unweildy.

Check into some of the manufacturers who self distribute and find out what their minimum orders are. Some will not work with a small "mom n pop", others will be only to happy to help out. If they aren't willing or able to self distribute, ask for a list of their wholesalers and do some homework before committing to any one of them.

Also, you are going to need to make Customer Service an area of excellence. Having even one apathetic employee could be your death knell. Look into offering things like a "reserve" system and be willing to take a customers name and number so you can contact them when they are looking for an item you don't currently have in stock. But if you don't follow through (even a call to say, "I'm sorry but we won't be able to fulfill your request") you have lost a customer and any contacts they know (remember, statistics say that 1 bad experience will ripple out to 10 other customers, while 1 good one will only trickle out to 3 others).

I've thought of doing a small "entertainment/collectible" store myself as an extension of a local comic merchant. We theorized that a store specializing in Comics, Toys, Imports, Vinyl, and other closely related items could reach a broad enough customer base that it could succeed. (Unfortunately, Rochester doesn't seem to be the right market for it based on the research he has done). With a reserve/pull system, in-store pre-orders, constantly updating inventory to tie into high profile properties (like Summer blockbusters), and a high focus on Customer Satisfaction were the foundation of the mission statement and business plan with an extension to web-based sales as growth and demand permitted.

I wish you all the best of luck.

Keep us posted.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 10:29 am 
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Mc1gamer wrote:
I'm curious about distributors/wholesalers. I'm in North NJ and exploring a local store with toys as one of the main items sold. Any thoughts on where to start? Thanks so much!

Where in North Jersey are you? One local toy store that has been around for a LONG time is Marco's Emporium in Pompton Plains. Maybe check them out and see what has worked to keep them in business.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 11:55 am 
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bnjmnrlyr wrote:
The problem with using Diamond or Entertainment Earth or some other secondary source like them is that you are automatically un-competitive on pricing.



I don't know about that. My friend charges $8.99 for Marvel U figures. That's roughly the same price as big box retail. On top of that he gives a 10% discount to students, military and friends. I'd say that very competitive with other retailers.

It will probably depend on where a person would expect to make their profits. His store is predominantly a new and used video game store. So maybe the toys are just a side project but I don't see him allowing himself to lose money selling action figures.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:36 am 
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Well when the DCSWCC was first starting and we were looking at group buying-- I checked into what it would take to order from Hasbro Directly-- Your initial order had to be 10K worth of product -- and follow up orders had to be 5K-- (I forget the assortment rules- meaning I wasnt sure of you could cross over between lines)- but needless to say you have to hold some inventory if you went through them..

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking of opening a local toy store, need advice
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:56 am 
Killer Moth Fanatic
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Quote:
you do not want to be sitting on piles of unsold stock. The older something is, the harder it will be to sell.


I would say this is very important. There's a "Mom and Pop" store I've visited a few times, and they have a small but stagnant action figure section, and a heck of a lot of board games. The stock never really seems to change, and that makes me quite sad for them. While it may be nice to find an older JLU pack there from time to time, you mostly get the sense that they don't sell much.


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