August Retailer of the Month: Building Blocks Toys
We’re kicking off our Retailer of the Month series! Each month we will be featuring one of our great retailers and sharing a little about their “story”. We’ll touch on topics like: how they got started, what they love most about the toy business as well as what fun and exciting toys they have in store today! So, without further ado, let’s hear from our August retailer of the month: Building Blocks Toys in Lubbock, Texas!
We asked Paul, the owner of Building Blocks Toys, a few questions about his store . . .
How did Building Blocks Toys get started? I gave up a career in sales and sales training in the fall of 1996 due to too much travel. My territory included all of west Texas, New Mexico and parts of northern Mexico. My wife, Fran, was eight months pregnant with our third child and I just needed to be closer to home. Fran frequently complained that we didn’t have a specialty toy store in Lubbock. Like most men, I knew nothing about toys or the toy business. I spent the next couple of months figuring out how to support my family. During this period I viewed children's television programs for the first time in many years and was appalled at what products were being marketed to kids. I then went to the library and Texas Tech University and spent several days querying the reference librarians for data on ‘toys, games and hobbies’. I also researched specific demographics for our trade area. After about a week of analysis, I knew we could make a living. We opened our doors on October 20, 1997.
What is your favorite part about selling toys? We sell our products from a base of integrity. For example, my first criterion for bringing anything into the store is: would I bring it home for my own children or grandchildren. By offering good quality toys, we know we are adding something to our community and doing our part to fight the continuing deterioration of our culture. We do our best to offer toys that spark imagination. We refuse to sell anything that promotes poor body image, is strictly electronic or simply does a poor job of fostering creative play, no matter how profitable.
Fun fact about Building Blocks Toys: We have virtually no internet presence. We have no webpage, blogspot, we don’t utilize facebook or twitter. We survive in a hostile retail environment first by the grace of God and second by building personal relationships, matched with over the top service.
What types of toys do you carry in your store? Our biggest categories are Infants/Toddlers, Dolls and Collectables, and Outdoor/Skill toys. But we have loads of other types of toys to choose from: Pretend Play sets and Construction/Building sets, along with Plush, Music, Games, Arts & Crafts, Puzzles and Science.
What do you consider to be the “funnest” part of your job? I love talking to people. The best part of my job is working the cash register at Christmas. I love selling. The key is to spend twice as much time listening to your customer as you do talking. If you listen, they will tell you very clearly what to sell them and how to sell it. Another major highlight of my job is watching families grow and grow-up right before my eyes. We now have a number of second generation customers. It is very cool to watch a customer go from buying yo-yo’s in Junior High, to buying a Whatzat™ for his new baby.
How do you keep abreast of the newest toys so you have a great selection to offer your customers? I am on the sales floor every day. I speak with my customers every day. Let me reiterate, if you listen to your customer they will tell you what they want. I also depend heavily on my sales representatives who help me stay on top of the latest trends in the industry.
Thank you Building Blocks Toys! Stop by and check out Building Blocks Toys for yourself: Building Blocks Toys 5206 82ND STREET Lubbock, TX 79424 Phone (806) 783-0009