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Nov 13: Neighborhood Toy Store Day

First National "Neighborhood Toy Store Day" Builds and Benefits Community November 13

CHICAGO, Oct. 13, 2010 -- Across the country, neighborhood toy stores are gearing up for a day of community spirit, award-winning toys, and charitable giving.

On November 13, 2010, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) stores in neighborhoods across the nation will celebrate the first Neighborhood Toy Store Day.

"By setting aside the second Saturday in November as a special time for families to enjoy their local toy stores, we hope to launch the holiday season with some community-minded fun," said Kathleen McHugh, ASTRA's President.

Local talent will entertain the crowds at many participating stores, including a juggler at World of Mirth in Richmond, Virginia, a dance troop of elves at Hopscotch Toys in McMinnville, Oregon, and face painting at Toys in the Attic in Dalton, Georgia. Catherine Higgins, the owner of Stone Soup in Bar Harbor, Maine, will have crafts, a treasure hunt, and small giveaways for her little neighbors.

Santa Claus will get some practice with his gift-route and no doubt stock-up on toys for good little boys and girls as he visits many of the participating local toy stores. And lucky children may even spot a reindeer at Wilbur's Lincolnwood Toys, in Brownsburg, Indiana.

McHugh explained, "The first Neighborhood Toy Store Day will highlight the importance of independent toy stores not only to children and their familiesóbut to their local areas as well. Our members have really taken this occasion to plan a variety of exciting community activities."

Local stores are enjoying the opportunity to share their charitable efforts with their communities. Allen Brafman, owner of Little Things Toy Store in Brooklyn, New York, found a cause that is a natural fit. "As a way of having fun and at the same time promoting the idea of children being involved in community responsibilities, Little Things Toy Store will be holding a unique fund raiser to replace trees in Prospect Park that were felled by a recent tornado," said Brafman.

At Hopscotch Toys, owner Linda Hays will continue her annual fundraiser for the downtown association and Habitat for Humanity, making and selling gingerbread house kits for a contest. At Thom Foolery in Fort Dodge, Iowa, people are encouraged to drop off toys for the local children's emergency center and Kazoodles in Vancouver, Washington will donate 10 percent of the day's sales as store credit to the local Children's Home Society.

And, of course, there will be plenty of quality toys and exciting activities for children at the festivities. During the first Neighborhood Toy Store Day, many member retailers will announce ASTRA's Best Toys for Kids Award list for 2010.

This list honors toys that deliver exceptional value and expand a child's imagination, and encourage creativity. ASTRA's top picks are chosen by over 500 local toy store owners across the country with a deep understanding of how kids play.

McHugh urges shoppers to think of their local stores first, "By shopping locally, consumers will find great toys while supporting vibrant communities. According to the 3/50 project, local, independent retailers return 68% of the dollars spent in their store to the local economy in the form of taxes, salaries, and charitable programs, as opposed to the 43% contributed by large, national chains. Visit your neighborhood toy store and you may bring home more than just the perfect gift, you'll share the spirit of the season."

Contact your local toy store or visit NeighborhoodToyStoreDay.com to find out more about the event in your area.

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