CreativePlay Retailer February 2016 - Page 52

If You’ve Got the Best Toys in the Business, Get the Best Tools for Selling Them I magine owning your own toy store. You hire local residents and add dollars to your local economy. You spend your days surrounded by the best children’s toys on the market, and you put the magic of childhood back into the lives of your community’s children. For the nearly 800 locally-owned, independent toy retailers who are members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), that dream is a reality. But making it happen profitably is hard work in a highly competitive industry. That’s why ASTRA was created to help toy retailers—and the manufacturers who make the toys they sell—achieve success in the exciting world of specialty toys. Members get access to educational webinars, publications, information about new products, and a confidential online forum where they can discuss products, marketing ideas, hiring and training issues, and much more. ASTRA helps its members build their businesses through product sourcing and discounts at its annual Marketplace & Academy, the year’s biggest gathering of the specialty toy industry. The event will be held June 5-8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. Retailers won’t want to miss the hot-selling new products, the show-only discounts, the new ideas and connections, and the fourth quarter deals and steals they will find at Marketplace & Academy. ASTRA offers its members several innovative ways to reach consumers. Neighborhood Toy Store Day, promotes the advantages of buying specialty toys, and ASTRA provides a free step-by-step guide for retailers to help them maximize the public relations value of this day. Best Toys for Kids, the annual toy list that represents the year’s top picks by local toy store owners nationwide, is promoted heavily during the holiday season in national and local parenting media outlets. ASTRA’s online store locater gives toy buyers an easy way to find your store. For more information about ASTRA’s annual Marketplace & Academy—including who should attend and what independent retailers say about Marketplace & Academy visit www.astramarketplace.org. NEIGHBORHOOD TOY STORE