IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Neighborhood Toy Store Day Lets Independent Retailers Shine!

by Phil Guie and Deanna Atkins

ExteriorofKaleidoscope(Editor’s note: This article was updated on November 11, 2014)

This past weekend, playtime was definitely on at mom-and-pop toy stores located throughout the U.S.

Saturday marked the fifth annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day (NTSD), an event started by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association to support locally owned toy retailers. Community members were encouraged to visit the independent toy store in their midst, and in return, participating retailers hosted in-store arts and crafts, games, and other activities that appealed to families.

In honor of NTSD, The Toy Book’s editorial staff interviewed owners of several neighborhood toy stores in their home communities. In their responses below, the store owners touched on their NTSD plans, the support they give and receive from their neighborhoods, the reasons why shopping at a locally owned toy store is a great experience, and more.
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Cardinal Industries Turns 70

cardinalIn 1944, a young Les Berger, the founder of Cardinal Industries, started the company in Brooklyn. With his knowledge of plastics, Berger began manufacturing dominoes poker chip racks, hula hoops, and Mah Jongg sets.

Seventy years later, Cardinal has grown to become one of America’s top signature board game and puzzle companies offering more than 400 items including traditional games such as dominoes, checkers, and poker sets, as well as an extensive line of licensed games and lenticular, wood, and basic puzzles. With a worldwide reach Cardinal products can be found throughout North America, Europe, and Austraila. Cardinal has excelled in the licensed puzzle and game arena working with Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Sanrio, Twentieth Century Fox, NBS, Warner Bros, Sesame Street, HIT Entertainment, Lucas, Mattel, and Hasbro, among others.

Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. Selects Brooklyn Teenager As Hometown Heroes Winner

imageFans of the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. brand have selected 17-year-old Francesca Chaney and her non-profit Girls Advocating and Innovating the Nation (G.A.I.N.) organization as the winner of the latest edition of its bi-monthly Hometown Heroes program.

For receiving the largest amount of votes in the latest competition, Bandai Co. Ltd. and Sync Beatz Entertainment are awarding a $5,000 contribution to Ms. Chaney and the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based group she launched in 2011. With its roots as a mentoring program to help younger girls facing self-esteem issues, the G.A.I.N. mission took on a more ambitious agenda when recognizing the need to address more issues in local communities. As a result, they provide young women with the tools and resources to speak up and allow their voices to be heard on topics of their concern and address issues together, empower each other, and positively innovate their society. Their motto is “Every Girl Must Gain.” Through weekly discussions, community outreach, and empowerment workshops for youth, G.A.I.N. has positively impacted the lives of thousands of youth. [Read more...]

Lloyd Miller Releases First Solo Album, S.S. Brooklyn

jpegLloyd Miller, communal songster and leader of the indie band The Deedle Deedle Dees, believes that music is a great way to build a community—especially when everyone’s singing, tapping, and dancing together. Miler will release his first solo album release, S.S. Brooklyn, on September 24.

Miller holds singalongs in various spaces in Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Ditmas Park, and Williamsburg five or six nights a week. S.S. Brooklyn features original songs, as well as the most-requested songs. These events provide audiences an opportunity to support various causes, such as the Red Hook Initiative, Soleil Global, and Sing for Hope—all part of Miller’s ongoing “music outreach mission.” Audience members bring in donations to the shows and Miller delivers them to support children in Haiti or the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

In addition to regular sing-along events this fall, Miller will host concerts at the Brooklyn Historical Society on the first Saturday of every month beginning November 2. An S.S. Brooklyn release concert is planned for October 13 at Shapeshifter Lab, launching the Hip Tot Music Fest season. The album is produced by Dean Jones, and guest artists include Marianne Tasick, Abby Rock, and Debbie Lan.