ASTRA Convention to Host Special Session on Succession

ASTRAlogoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is featuring a special session at its annual ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy that will focus on helping specialty toy retailers build succession plans for their businesses. The key takeaways will include: critical factors in determining the value of an independent toy store; how to get stores ready for a sale or transfer of ownership; and establishing a timeline for an independent retailer to make a smooth exit.

Lynn Switanowski of the Creative Business Consulting Group will lead this session. ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held on June 8 to 11 in Phoenix, Ariz.  Following the convention, the succession topic will be continued in member-only discussion groups on ASTRA’s website.

ASTRA Welcomes 80 New Manufacturers to Its Marketplace & Academy

astra_logo_homeAs reported by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), more than 80 new toy manufacturers will be showing new products in the exhibit hall at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Most of these products are not yet available online, which gives specialty retailers the opportunity to offer them in their communities before anyone else.

“Specialty toy retailers need innovative products with high play value that consumers cannot find elsewhere, and ASTRA is the place to discover them,” said Kathleen McHugh, President of ASTRA. “These products help retailers position themselves as a hands-on shopping experience that is more creative and more fun and more interesting than the competition.”

ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held June 8 to 11 in Phoenix, Ariz. Admission to the ASTRA Marketplace exhibit hall is free to specialty toy retailers, with registration through ASTRA’s website.

Jakks Pacific and Nickelodeon Enter into Licensing Agreement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

NickTMNTJakks Pacific Inc. has entered a licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of specialty figures and toys in the U.S. based on the network’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. The agreement will include Jakks Pacific’s Hero Portal TV video game platform, Plug It In & Play TV Games products, and large-scale figures.

The new line will launch this fall, coinciding with the August 8 release of Paramount Pictures’ feature film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Young Builders, Make Way for Modular Toys USA!

Modular Toys.Racetrack_piecesModular Construction Toys, the Israeli-based manufacturer of Modular Toys construction sets, is bringing its product line to U.S. specialty retailers with Modular Toys USA. More than 125 stores across the country are already stocking the company’s construction sets, and the expansion includes racetracks, as well as locomotive construction and building sets. These toys are suitable for kids age 4 to 8.

Modular Toys’ sets are designed to grow vertically through the use of included elevation pieces. No sorting needs to take place, since the innovative connector pieces let children mix and match different sets. This season’s new additions include the Mega Racetrack, which includes nine construction pieces, three cars, and a sturdy plastic storage bin for clean-up and organization; and the [Read more...]

FunTime Inflation Station Pumps Up the Classic Bouncy Ball

MegaFun USA introduces the FunTime Inflation Station, a new way to display play balls to customers. This machine brings a 21st century update to a classic bouncy ball toy by adding a bit of interactive fun to the process of buying one.  You can watch the entire process in action here:

The FunTime Inflation Station is already at retailers including  Hy-Vee Stores, Do Best Stores, CVS, Party City, Toys “R” US Canada, HEB, Orscheln’s, Atwoods, Kroger/Fred Meyer, Great Wolf Lodge, Six Flags Great America, and Cedar Fair, as well as independent toy, gift, candy, book, and souvenir stores and zoos. Internationally, the FunTime Inflation Station will be carried in Germany, Russia, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Uruguay, Honduras, Columbia, and Panama throughout this year and next. [Read more...]

Swedish Dollhouse Company Lundby Returns to North America

Lundby dockskåp. MikkiAfter a decade-long absence, the classic Swedish dollhouse brand Lundby is returning to the North American market. Lundby, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Micki, plans to begin selling its dollhouses through amazon.com and specialty toy stores.

The brand is well-known for following trends in fashion and home décor, and for capturing snapshots of different eras with historical accuracy. Each doll house represents a dream house in miniature format scale 1:18. Lundby was the first dollhouse brand in the world to utilize “plug and play” electric lighting, and its more recent dollhouses feature pre-wired, child-safe, 5-volt lighting systems.

TOY BOOK EXCLUSIVE: MGA Launches Specialty Toy Division

MGA Entertainment has announced plans to enter the world of specialty toy products with the launch of its own specialty division, MGA Entertainment Specialty. The company is currently hiring sales representation groups across the U.S. that will service specialty retailers at store level. MGA Entertainment Specialty will offer a vast assortment of unique toys and gifts derived from its portfolio of brands, including Little Tikes, Moxie Girlz, Zapf, Rescue Pets, and more.

[Read more...]