Catching up with Crystal after 3 years
I met with Crystal Newman at her business, Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe, located in the heart of Lancaster, New York on thriving Central Avenue to discuss her third anniversary. The store is bright and cheery and it invites you to use all of your senses (not discarding your sense of humor). Crystal greets me with a smile, a wave and an address by first name. She’s busy with a grandmother, Crystal’s favorite type of customer, who is shopping for two tween granddaughters and a younger grandson. I take a self-guided tour while I wait and I hear her suggestions and excitement in the demonstration. One of my favorite things about Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe is that nobody hovers over you while you try to shop but they’re always close enough to answer a question if you have one. It’s this non-invasive selling style that is a quiet (and appreciated) cornerstone of her business principles.
I ask Crystal to reflect on her last three years as a business owner and did the experience match the expectations. She explains that she has a marketing background but that never would have prepared her for challenges like Toys-R-Us closing down and online giant, Amazon, walking away with the lion’s share of business in this industry. The shuttering of America’s most well-known toy store, Toys-R-Us, put unanticipated pressure on Crystal’s inventory and selection. She credits her listening skills as one key to her success. She listens to her customers’ needs and wants and she listens to her vendors’ suggestions and business trends. Over the past three years, she has found herself having to rein herself in on buying inventory because her confidence in that area has blossomed. Crystal was surprised that emails, for instance, don’t have the impact that mailing lists that “mom & pop” businesses in the past heavily relied on, so she’s learned to navigate social media to help get the word out (be sure to “like” on Facebook). Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe also has a Birthday Club discount and ongoing promotions for selections that cover babies to teens.
Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe, like most village businesses, relies on good old-fashioned foot traffic and it is responsible for the biggest percentage of sales. Crystal has found “location-location-location” invaluable and with it, she has found home. She speaks highly of a network of Lancaster merchants who rely on each other and a home-grown, organic style of marketing to promote several town businesses. Crystal explains that this networking includes monthly meetings between merchants and Lancaster mayor, William Schroeder, and an alliance with the Lancaster Community Development Corp. The village of Lancaster and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce are also actively involved in event planning all year round. Be sure to mark “Thursdays in the Village” on your calendar this summer, there will be 12 to choose from to support several local businesses.
Stop by Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe to congratulate Crystal on three amazing years and let yourself get lost in the serendipity of imagination. It’s always time well spent.
BLOOMSBURY LANE TOY SHOPPE IN THE NEWS
Discount Diva: Where to buy toys in WNY (besides Toys R Us)
There seem to be more people enjoying Christmas this year. Consumer confidence is up and, as a result, so is Christmas spirit.
More people are shopping online than ever, but many people are also shopping “the old-fashioned way,” in real stores.
Toys R Us is no longer an option for toys, so Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, Amazon; even drug stores, supermarkets and gas stations have upped their toy game trying to absorb some of those sales.
But if you really want to feel Christmassy, shopping mom and pop shops will make you feel like you’re living in a Bing Crosby Christmas carol. Plus, you’ll get free gift wrapping, attentive service and knowledgeable employees to help you hand-pick unique gifts that are perfectly suited for each child on your list. READ MORE
Closure of Toys ‘R’ Us gives boost to local toy stores
In the past, shoppers would head to Toys ‘R’ Us for gifts for the kids. However, this is the first year that was not an option, giving an extra economic boost to local toy stores. READ MORE
Discount Diva: Nostalgia runs deep for Toys R Us, but indy stores can fill the void
Some kids counted sheep when they couldn’t fall asleep. I mentally perfected my Toys R Us Super Toy Run strategy.
Nickelodeon used to run an epic nationwide sweepstakes, the winner of which had five minutes to tear through Toys R Us, fill shopping carts with as many toys as they could and keep them all for free.
But that’s pretty much where my nostalgia for Toys R Us ends. I already had my heart ripped out in 1999, when Hills Department Store closed. As the not-creepy-at-all Hills Sprite always reminded us, “Hills is where the toys are”. Or were, until Ames took over and ruined everything. READ MORE
Sitting at a desk all day can really get you thinking about all the possibilities the future has in store for you.
“My husband and son and I moved to Lancaster two years ago and I wanted to immerse myself in the community,” said Crystal Newman. “I had been in marketing for 10 years and I was getting antsy at my desk job. I wanted to be in front of people and I wanted to do something more fun.”
And then along came a shining light, Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe, located at 1 West Main Street, just minutes from Newman’s home.
Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe 1 West Main St Lancaster, NY 14086 (609-2002)
Tues 10:00am–5:00pm Weds 10:00am-5:30pm Thurs-Fri 10:00am-6:00pm Sat 10:00am-4:00pm
Holiday hack: Local retailers who gift wrap
A lot has been said about shopping local. One more benefit? Retailers who wrap. My sister, a mom of two young children, actually strategized her entire holiday shopping plan last year based on stores that wrap. Local shop owners understand that it’s time-saving services like these their customers appreciate.
Women-owned businesses prove to be heart of Lancaster’s village
For years, there has been a resurgence of local businesses in Lancaster, particularly in the village.
West Main Street and Central Avenue is the nexus of 1950s charm, with many more updates in the works for a flourishing, walkable village center.
For the business owners along these two streets, the timing has never been better. What’s more, the majority of these businesses are women owned.
(From the Bee Papers)
Lancaster’s Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe will join hundreds of locally owned stores across the country to celebrate the eighth national Neighborhood Toy Store Day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.
Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe will offer fun, child-friendly activities such as toy demonstrations and giveaways, reveals of the top-rated toys, and snacks. Giveaways are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe is located at 1 West Main St. in Lancaster.
$30 Lancaster Village Shopping Gift Certificate
Lancaster Chamber Member
Toy store under new ownership, slates event
Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe recently changed hands, and there was no wasted time in planning an event for families to enjoy.
Allissa Miller will be reading “Where Are My Socks?” at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 23, at the shop. located at 1 W. Main St., Lancaster.