Toy store owner’s business strategy: building relationships

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Super Saturday or Panic Saturday, whatever you call it shoppers are expected to shell out money for gifts that rival the Black Friday frenzy.

Some industry researchers believe people will spend $2 billion more than on Black Friday. Procrastinators can’t easily shop online so this is all music to the ears of local business owners.

Susan Blevens describes her toy store as a last-minute shop, but this year sales have been up for a lot more minutes.

“This is the best Christmas ever,” said Blevins, who owns The Toy Place. “This is the first Christmas in this location.” 

Blevins isn’t sure whether to credit her sales to the bigger space or the Toys R Us shutdown or the emphasis in town on shopping local. 

What it cannot be credited to is going digital. In the era of online shopping, Blevins doesn’t even have a website, though she says a lot of people find her on Google and she uses Facebook. 

Her business strategy: “It’s all about the relationship. I mean this really isn’t my toy store. It belongs to my customers.”

If those customers flood the store on Panic Saturday, Blevins says she’s ready. So are shoppers. What keeps them coming back…

“Our friendship, loyalty,” said Ron Conway.

“You can’t go to Walmart and find this stuff,” said Adam Coleman.

Her secret to survival in the digital world is making her store invaluable to the community. Her selling point: the homegrown toy store experience.

“You watch them grow up,” Blevins said. “You watch them become big brothers and big sisters. You see them lose their first teeth, you see them start school. My first batch of customers when I opened are freshman in college and they come back to see me because I love them.”

Several other local business owners tell us they also rely on the selling point of the customer having a unique experience. The National Retail Association reports more than 55 percent of holiday shoppers, 134 million people, plan to shop Saturday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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