Running a toy store isn't all fun and games. Sometimes the harsh reality of the economy, weather and competition bring the good times to an end.
So it is with Toyville, the charming downtown Worthington toy store that will close its doors June 24.
"At this point, in spite of all of our efforts, we determined that the growth rate just wasn't fast enough to get us over the hump," Toyville owner Gary Naumann said. "The triple whammy of the slow retail recovery, combined with the long, hard winter and the resurgence of the Worthington mall, was too much to overcome."
Through closing day, all merchandise will be sold at a 30-percent discount as a show of appreciation to all of the store's faithful customers, Toyville manager Katie Wood said. And there are many, she said. In the two-and-a-half years the store was open at 679 High St., neighbors, community members and downtown merchants have become regular customers. So, too, have many children in the neighborhood who walk or ride bikes to the shop, she said.
Toyville sells toys ranging in price from 50 cents to $500, from trinkets and games to riding toys, dolls, stuffed animals, trucks and building sets.
"The people are sad, and we're sad too," Wood said. "We've gotten to know people, especially the kids."
With the help of her husband, Rob, she has managed the store since its opening in September 2011.
She and Rob will move on to run another toy store that will be owned by her uncle and aunt, Gary and Diane Naumann, in Newport Beach, Calif.
The Naumanns owned four toy stores in the past in California. They decided to open the Worthington Toyville when they were visiting relatives three years ago.
They live in Arizona, where Gary Naumann is a professor at Arizona State University.
They were impressed by the charm of the Kilbourne building, which is one of the oldest commercial buildings in continuous use in Ohio. By removing dropped ceilings and revealing brick walls, they returned the early 1980s building to some of its historic appeal.
Naumann said he was glad he got to know the Worthington community, where he made friends and was able to make a positive impact.
"From the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, to the city, to all of our loyal customers, we were very happy for all of the support we received," he said.