HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - On the first Black Friday since Toys R Us closed its U.S. retail locations, Central Arkansas shoppers out looking for toys were not left without options.
The Toy Chest in Hot Springs sparks a sense of wonder in kids and adults who pass by the storefront on Central Ave.
Imy Marcus and his wife Harriett, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, opened the store in 1989 after relocating to Hot Springs upon retirement. Their daughter Anne joined the family business soon after.
“We have seen a lot of families grow up in our store,” Anne said.
Meanwhile, the Marcus family said they have learned from those who visit the Toy Chest.
“The children teach us,” Imy said. “The big thing they've taught us is a simple two letter word: ‘d-o.’ They want to do things,” he said.
From train sets to puppets, board games to books – the store carries items that allow for just that.
Despite changes in consumer habits over the years, the troubles faced by companies like Toys R Us and the surge in online shopping -- the Toy Chest’s crowded aisles are evidence there’s still a market for brick and mortar toy stores.
“As technology has played a bigger part, specialty toy stores have stayed true to themselves and most of the specialty toy stores have stayed true to the ‘powered by imagination’ format that we have,” Anne said.
"We compete with the big chain stores for the toy dollar, but we don't have many of the same toys. We have a different toy," Imy said.
They’re the type of toys – old and new – bringing smiles to kids of all ages this holiday season.
“We've been here for 29 years," Anne said. "We plan to be here for many more years.”
For store hours and more information, click here to visit the Toy Chest’s website.