Posted on: May 18, 2022 Posted by: Ariel Tattum Comments: 0

Correction: Turner Toys is located in Finney Crossing. An earlier version misidentified the shopping center.

WILLISTON – In a world transformed by online shopping and at a time when COVID brought in-person buying to a crawl, a locally owned toy store defied the retail odds.

Turner Toys thrived while many other stores limped along and is taking that momentum to go bigger. 

The former Essex retailer moved to a newly constructed building with more space. The business re-opened officially April 29th at its new Williston location and hopes to draw in more customers from across Chittenden County.  

As one of only several locally owned toy shops in the area, the owners hope Vermont families will continue to support them in their new place of residence. 

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On target: Turner Toys managed to do well with sales during the COVID-19 pandemic and were able to grow into a new location. Turner Toys, a locally owned toy store, opened in its larger Williston location at 129 Market St. on April 29, 2022.

How Turner Toys turned the tide on COVID impacts

The toy industry has seen strong growth over the last couple years, a trend that Peter Sloan who has owned Turner Toys with his wife for last 10 years, is glad to see. 

Sloan’s main competitors are online retailers, but he says the playing field has leveled recently. Amazon has raised prices and even exceeds the sticker price for some of the products Turner Toys currently carries — which Sloan said people notice.  

Families frequently come in to reward a child for something they accomplished or endured, like a dental visit, which Sloan said is most effective to get the same day. 

“Two days later is an eternity as a kid,” he said about waiting to receive an online order. “It’s in our favor the product is right here, right now.”

Peter Sloan owns Turner Toys with his wife Elizabeth and is pictured days after opening their new store on May 3. Turner Toys, a locally owned toy store, opened in its larger Williston location at 129 Market St. on April 29, 2022.

Right now is also what some families wanted during self-imposed isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids were being entertained at home and parents looked for items that would draw their children away from screens. 

Sloan said because parents weren’t spending as much on commuting, dry cleaning or eating out, they had more disposable income to spend on purchases that may have been made in an attempt to “buy normalcy.”