The Western Toy & Hobby Representatives Association will kick off its first ToyFest since 2020 during the week of March 7. While the event will be a departure from previous years with representatives showing in both showrooms as well as temporary booth spaces, event planners are maintaining tradition with the WTHRA Hall of Fame induction.
This year’s inductees include Marlene and Charles Gabris, Stephanie Sala, and Brian Turtle. Thinker Toys is being inducted for Retailer of the Year. The induction ceremony will take place on the evening of March 9, where toy industry colleagues will celebrate the lifetime achievements of the inductees.
Marlene and Charles Gabris are celebrating 40 years in the toy business, having started by selling toys from their garage in 1982 followed by the opening of their first store in 1984. The past decades have included multiple stores at various times around Sacramento, with the most recent opening being Black Friday in 2020.
Stephanie Sala is the owner of the Bay Area toy store chain, Five Little Monkeys. In 2001, Stephanie began her own endeavor as a toy entrepreneur, opening her first store in Albany, CA. Since that time, she has grown to six locations and an e-commerce site.
Brian Turtle, along with a few friends, developed a game sensation that would be known as “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” which was published by Endless Games in 1997. Brian became an integral part of Endless Games wearing multiple hats including national sales manager, marketing and PR, copywriting, and product development. He continues his career today at Goliath.
This year’s Retailer of the Year, Thinker Toys in Northern California, has two locations that specialize in active and challenging games.
ToyFest is hosted by Western Toy & Hobby Representatives Association and will take place in The Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas on March 9-11.