Amidst the times of technology with smartphones and virtual reality, a new toy store in downtown Conway is looking to bring back the classics.
Small Town Toys on Fourth Avenue is filled with simplistic yet memorable toys and activity sets from Madame Alexander dolls to puzzles to even Pokémon cards.
“We wanted stuff for everybody,” Morgan Harmer, a mother of two and the owner of Small Town Toys. “I was trying to get something for everybody, for all ages.”
Harmer was tired of driving to the beach to get toys and said that the downtown area had nothing really for kids. Harmer already had good connection getting the building that is now home to her new business as her mother, Laura Abernathy, was the previous owner of the space.
“It was just the perfect spot,” Abernathy said.
Once the lease was transferred over into Harmer’s name, Harmer hit the ground running, making sure she had everything properly set for her store to open.
“She’s been searching for months, trying to get decent, well-built toys but still trying to keep it priced well for everybody,” Abernathy said. “She’s done a superb job.”
Small Town Toys has a little bit everything from dolls and stuffed animals to mini figures and building sets similar to Legos, to even books and other educational items for children. And the items are reasonably priced with the most expensive item being a Chef Kitchen Set for under $225. Almost half of the items listed on their website’s catalog are under $20.
While Harmer is pleased with the items she currently has in her store, she said she’s hoping to add some big named brands to her store’s catalog in the future.
“I’m trying to get those and like actual Hot Wheel brands, some other actual brands,” Harmer said.
Abernathy said that her daughter wanted the store to be something different and not just filled with Walmart-like toys. While toy stores come few and far between, Abernathy said that the small business aspect of Small Town Toys is what puts the store over the rest.
“It’s owned by a family so you know when you go in there shopping, you’re directly affecting her family where if you go to Toys R Us, there’s no telling where your money goes,” Abernathy said.
Since the store opened on July 12, Harmer said that there’s been a mixture of people, ranging from family and friends to total strangers, stopping by and checking out the new store.
“I actually saw someone pull up in a parking spot, get out, come in here and then leave, so they actually came down here just for my store,” Harmer said.
Some of those that have stopped by are children and the reactions that they have when they see what’s inside is something that Harmer loves seeing.
“This little boy was walking around and he was like ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh,’ like every time he turned around, it was so cute,” Harmer said. “He came up [to the register] and I’ve been giving the kids a free rice crispy treat and he was like ‘oh my gosh, this is the best store ever!’ He was so excited.”
After a year where kids have had plenty of screen time on their phones, tablets and computers due to the pandemic, the excitement over the simplest of toys is something that makes Harmer smile.
“It’s to actually see them and want a toy besides just an iPad,” Harmer said.
Small Town Toys is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.