CHICAGO, Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For many children, there is nothing quite as exciting as a trip to the neighborhood toy store. To help recognize local toy stores across the country and kick off the holiday shopping season, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has announced the fourth annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Saturday, November 9, 2013.
The nationwide shopping event is designed to encourage families to support the independently-owned toy stores in their community and introduce consumers to the benefits of shopping local. On Neighborhood Toy Store Day, participating local stores will host free child-friendly in-store events featuring activities such as face painting, craft projects, live performances and more. Families can log onto YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org for a full listing of local events across the country.
"Local toy stores add charm and character to neighborhoods everywhere and provide families with a unique selection of high-quality toys and unmatched customer service. Each year, our store owners look forward to celebrating the local toy shopping experience with the communities and customers they serve," said Kathleen McHugh, President of ASTRA. "Neighborhood Toy Store Day offers families a fun way to support their favorite stores and recognize how vital they are to the community."
Shopping locally provides a number of economic benefits to a neighborhood. Local businesses create jobs, preserve neighborhoods and reduce sprawl. Furthermore, in comparison to chain stores, independent local businesses put a significantly larger share of revenue back into the local economy in the form of taxes, salaries and more.
"Neighborhood Toy Store Day is such a great opportunity for parents to support the local retailers that keep communities thriving while getting a head start on holiday shopping before things get too hectic," says Liz Gumbinner, Editor-in-Chief of the popular parenting website Cool Mom Picks, and mother of two. "Families love local toy stores for the specialty toys that often can't be found anywhere else, and for the personal attention and trusted recommendations that really help you score the perfect gift."
Sample Neighborhood Toy Store Day events across the country include:
Miracle Mile Toys & Games, Los Angeles, CA:
Face painting, storytime, drop-in Creativity for Kids projects, freebies and more.
Wonder Works, Charleston, SC:
See a live Thomas and Friends™ show, receive 20% of all Thomas & Friends merchandise, meet the inventor of the Rainbow Loom Choon Ng, create hanging holiday decor and more!
Amazing Toys, Great Falls, MT:
Product demonstrations and two live performances by magician Eric Spragg.
The Village Toy Shop, New Hartford, NY:
Toy demonstrations and 15% off the entire store all day! In addition, every shopper will receive $5 in Toy Bucks for every $50 spent.
To celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day 2013, ASTRA has launched the first ever "I Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store" sweepstakes. Through 12:00 PM EST on November 8, consumers can log onto YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org to enter to win one of the following:
Thomas and Friends invites you on the family vacation of a lifetime at select all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. This prize includes a four-night resort stay for four people.
- One gift basket of Kidoozie products from International Playthings valued at $250
- One gift basket of Calico Critters products from International Playthings valued at $250
- One gift basket of earlyears products from International Playthings valued at $250
- Gift certificates for Playmobil products. Two winners will each receive a $250 Playmobil gift certificate to be redeemed at an ASTRA-affiliated retailer
- One gift basket of assorted Best Toys for Kids winning product from ASTRA valued at $250
Consumers can enter as often as they like; winners will be randomly selected on Neighborhood Toy Store Day.
"A trip to the local toy store on Saturday, November 9 can be a fun and productive outing for families across the country," added McHugh. "Customers can find unique toys and receive top-notch customer service while supporting the community in which they live."
Founded in 1992, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting creative and open ended playtime for children. ASTRA brings together specialty toy manufactures, independent toy stores and toy buyers to help encourage "smart" play and local toy shopping. As the largest association serving the specialty toy industry, ASTRA members include independent toy and children's product retailers, specialty toy manufacturers and industry affiliates. For more information on ASTRA, please visit www.astratoy.org.