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Nov. 12: Neighborhood Toy Store Day

Second National "Neighborhood Toy Store Day" Supports Shopping Local and Community Fun on November 12

CHICAGO, Nov. 1, 2011 -- Remember the magical feeling of shopping in your neighborhood toy store as a child -- strolling down the aisles, staring at the exciting options, finally selecting the toy that promised days filled with adventure?

This nostalgia is exactly what American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) stores in neighborhoods across the nation will celebrate with the second annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day on November 12, 2011.

"This event is such a special opportunity for families to enjoy their local toy stores," said Kathleen McHugh, ASTRA's President. "Neighborhood Toy Store Day highlights the importance of independent toy stores not only to children and their families -- but to their local areas as well. It's a wonderful way to launch the holiday shopping season with some community-minded fun."

Local talent will entertain the crowds at many participating stores, including costumed characters and a visit from the Mayor at Wonder Works in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and a dance troupe at Village Toy Shop in Hilo, Hawaii. Oyen Tsendsuren, owner of Toys of O in San Francisco, California, will have product giveaways, and Sally Lesser, owner of Henry Bear's Park in Arlington, Massachusetts will give discounts to customers who bring in their own reusable shopping bags.

"When you shop at an independent toy store, you are entering a world of play possibilities," explains McHugh. "Neighborhood Toy Store Day is about celebrating the role the local store plays in the community. They care about their customers and take the time to help them select just the right toy to help their children grow and learn through play."

Participating stores are also enjoying the opportunity to share their charitable efforts. Donna Cole, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Salida, Colorado, found a way to focus on giving back this holiday season. "We are creating a 'Giving Tree' with cards that will contain specific toys customers can purchase for local needy children who will receive a special Christmas surprise visit from Santa and his elves."

Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Georgia, is sponsoring a food drive and asking customers to bring three non-perishable food items to the event to receive a five dollar gift certificate to use on purchases.

Shopping at neighborhood and independent retailers not only increases consumer choice, it also preserves jobs and local character. According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in local, independently-owned stores, $68 returns to the community in the form of taxes, salaries, charitable contributions and more -- in contrast with only $43 dollars when consumers spend their money at a national chain.

McHugh urges shoppers to think of their local stores first, "By shopping locally, consumers will find wonderful toys while supporting vibrant communities."

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

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