A Place to Play

Toyville Celebrates Its Second Year in Business Next Month

Toyville-entrance-copyAs the general manager of Toyville, a premier toy store in Downtown Worthington, Katie Wood jokes that she never actually goes to work. That's because most of her work day is spent playing--with toys, that is. "We have to play with the toys so we know how they work," she said. "When a new shipment of toys comes in, it's like Christmas for us."

Playing with toys may sound like a great way to make a living, but it's not what Wood originally intended. After graduating from Ohio State University in 2008--just about the time the recession hit--she was still exploring career options. Her aunt and uncle came to visit in 2011, and by chance noticed the vacant retail space in the Kilbourne Building. At one point, they had owned and operated three toy stores in California, so they decided to get back in the business--this time with their niece in charge of the operations.

Two years later, Toyville is well known for its large selection of classic and modern toys, and Wood is having a blast. "We have a lot of the classics, but many up-and-coming things as well--just not a lot of things you see everywhere," Wood said. "Customer service is the number-one thing that sets us apart. We offer free gift wrapping and free assembly year round." Best of all, Toyville has something for all ages and occasions, from baby showers to adult puzzles and games.

The 1200-square-foot store occupies about one-third of the Kilbourne Building, which is the oldest continuously operating commercial building on its original site in the state. Exposed ceiling beams in one part of the store were discovered during the renovation, and they decided not to cover them up. They are likely the original hand-hewn beams from 1808 when Worthington founder James Kilbourne operated a land office there.

Today the space is packed from floor to ceiling with toys, while three, separate play tables make it easy for kids to test the toys or stay occupied while their parents are shopping. "Toys in a box doesn't do too much for a kid," Wood said, emphasizing the vital role of the tables.

When asked about toys that are currently popular, Wood did not hesitate to answer. "The Ogo Disk," she said. "Think of it as a mini trampoline that you hold in your hand." You can catch and throw

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OgoSoft balls up to 150 feet, bouncing them off the fabric center, or you can use the disk as a throwing disk (think Frisbee). And it doesn't sink in the water, making it a great option for the pool or the beach. But many of the classic toys are always popular, according to Wood, like wooden blocks, bristle blocks or Bruder trucks.

There's little doubt that the store's location in Downtown Worthington has been a big factor in Toyville's success to date. "Between the city and the building, it's perfect," Wood said. "Our business district is in the middle of this huge neighborhood, so we get a lot of foot traffic, especially during the farmers markets and festivals."

For more information about Toyville, which is located at 679 High Street in Worthington, call 614.824.8187 or visit them on Facebook. You can also go to visitworthingtonohio.com for updates on area events and businesses.