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In Store Only

Written By: Kenneth Koepnick

You walk into a Target, excited to get great toys but as you walk down the aisle… it’s gone. Scalpers got to it first, they sold it online, or maybe someone just got up earlier than you. We’ve all been there & know the disappointment when you go into a store & all the good stuff is gone.

Photo Credit- @kylocollector on IG

For stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Meijer, Amazon, Walgreens, toys are less than 1% of their total business, so it’s understandable why they don’t care. Even Gamestop is much more focused on gaming than toys. How many aisles have you walked down looking for awesome Marvel Legends only to find Ant Man & The Wasp? Mattel’s King Shark or Clayface wave was great but you could only find Dark Knight Returns Robin by the dozen. Who doesn’t love The Black Series… good luck finding any.

So you hop on eBay, only to find anything reasonably priced gone, leaving only scalpers with prices at double or triple value. You go to Mercari, once the promised land of good deals only to find the same, or worse. There’s minimal supply for a lot of these items & pretty high demand. This only increases over time, & when you get into vintage lines that are 30-40 years old, completeness & condition complicate it even further. 

Remember when we were kids, & you could walk into a store & always find carded G.I. Joe’s, Kenner Batman, even ToyBiz Marvel Legends. KB Toys. Toys R Us. Johnny’s Toys, The Earth. These were magical places in a magical time. We all look back on those toy stores fondly, because we always found cool stuff. In an age of scalping, eBay, & poor distribution, many of us long for a time where collecting wasn’t so frustrating. Stores like The Toy Department, & many like us, are trying to bring that back.

The Toy Department doesn’t ship 99.9% of it’s inventory, so you can only buy our stuff in store. When you walk in, there is an expectation that you will find great stuff, & at a reasonable price. Like the toy stores of our childhood, our shelves & hooks are full of cool stuff, restocked regularly. You won’t just find Playmates Star Trek, POTF 2, & 90s Toybiz. Our customers know that when we post awesome stuff going out they can come in & there’s a good chance they’ll be able to get it. They know we haven’t sold that hard to find item & shipped it to California, or overseas, or to some scalper who’s gonna flip it on Facebook. They also know if they bring in something good to sell or trade, they’re going to find cool stuff to justify it.

Sure, we could make a lot of money selling toys online like everyone else. We could triple our staff, & get another building to handle the logistics of offering our thousands of items online. The listing, photographing, pricing, haggling, & shipping of 20k+ items is a big undertaking. Then what’s the point in a physical store? To hold the $1 Hot Wheels, $5 Spawn, & $3 Starting Lineups that aren’t worth listing online?

The Toy Department isn’t purely about making money quickly, it’s about cultivating a place for collectors to go & know there’s going to be a great selection of toys… from new stuff, to classics, to grails. It’s about the experience of awesome toy stores that we miss from our childhood. For folks who can’t make it in, there are lots of sellers online. Meanwhile, we are creating a destination where collectors can go with the expectation that there will be cool things at good prices, without the hassle of eBay or getting ripped off on Facebook. Thanks to places like Toy Store Guide, it’s easier than ever to find those places.

The Toy Department
6600 Dixie Hwy.
Unit T
Cincinnati, OH 45014

For more information on The Toy Department check out their profile HERE.

Article by:  Kenneth Koepnick

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