Recycled toys: Best. Idea. Ever.

22 Feb

I readily admit it. I’m a cheapskate. Anytime, anywhere I can save money, I’m there.

It was no different when I was raising my young children. If anything, money was even tighter back then. So when it came to clothing my kids, and providing them with toys and the necessary accoutrements of baby and toddler-hood, I was always on the lookout for a good deal. I relied a lot on hand-me-downs, garage sales, and the grandparents.

So basically, I would have killed for a store like Toy*Go*Round.

You’ve probably seen this shop as you’ve driven by it on Ridge Road in Webster. It’s the pretty blue house with pink shutters (I love that for a children’s shop) at the corner of Ebner Drive.   It’s owned and run by Bonnie Reynolds and her daughter Sarah, and they’ve just celebrated the store’s one-year anniversary.

I visited the other day on the advice of a friend, Beth Brasser, who absolutely loves the place.  From her description and the sign out front, which advertises “gently used toys and kid gear,” I had some sort of idea of what I’d find. Basically, it was a consignment shop for toys, I thought.

Basically, I was wrong.

Sorry, Bonnie, but that slogan on your sign? It’s woefully inadequate.  I would suggest changing that to “A Young Mother’s Paradise.”  Try to imagine walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Room, and all the chocolate bushes, trees and flowers, even the walls, are made of toys.

To give you a better idea, here’s a partial list of the different things I saw as I walked through the shop: strollers, toddler toys, stuffed animals, outdoor toys, musical instruments, car seat covers, infant toys, books, kitchen sets, table and chair sets, mobiles, race cars, transformers, action figures, board games, basketball hoop and building kits. Plus all sorts of clothing, even maternity wear (they think of everything). Or, in Bonnie’s words, the selection includes “Just about everything for mom and baby up to age 6.”

My friend warned me in her email that it might be overwhelming. She wrote,

The decor is bright and charming — though you may miss the hand-painted walls and sparkling chandelier because your eyes will be dazzled by a wonderland of colorful toys.”

There was a chandelier?!

Everything, by the way, was clean, sorted, bagged, and very inexpensive. We’re talking toys and baby equipment of all shapes and sizes — including strollers and bouncy chairs — for a fraction of the cost you’ll get at a big box store. I dare say, it was hard to find anything that even looked used.

But what I liked more than anything was the idea of recycling perfectly good toys.  As the kids grow up, we all collect countless toys and closets-full of baby needs that, if we give them away, eventually get tossed in the trash. Thanks to Bonnie and Sarah at Toy*Go*Round, many of them can now be passed on to someone else who will love them all over again.

Not that Bonnie can take everything. Things like breast pumps and car seats really can’t be re-sold. But owning your own business does mean there’s some wiggle  room on other things.

When I was there chatting with Bonnie, a mother and her teenage son came in carrying a box with about a dozen Webkinz animals. I stepped aside to let her talk with them, but kept a close ear to the exchange. Bonnie explained to them that stuffed animals don’t sell very well, and she doesn’t normally accept them. But it was obvious to her that the young man “really needed a little extra money.”  So in the end a deal was struck.  “As long as I can make him happy, I’ll make him happy,” Bonnie said.

You’d never find that kind of service at a big-box store.

Toy*Go*Round is located at 1197 Ridge Road, Webster, at the corner of Ebner Drive.  They’re open 10-2 on Monday, 10-6 Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday 12-4. Call (585) 545-4904. Check out their Facebook page by clicking here.

P.S. They’ve got a nice selection of Webkinz, just in!

 

This is the wonderland of toys that greets customers when they walk in the door.

I call this the boys’ room.

The smaller baby and toddler toys are cleaned and bagged.

 

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