The Toy Chest in Hot Springs, AR
When most people think of retirement, leisurely afternoon strolls, early dinners and senior discounts come to mind. And of course, not having to work anymore. And for most folks that’s just fine. But not Lulu Jr. Retailer of the Month, Imy Marcus.
Imy moved to Hot Springs, AR with his wife to settle into retirement. And he really enjoyed it – for a few weeks. Imy quickly grew bored with the life of a retiree and dove back into the workforce in the fall of 1989, opening up specialty toy store, The Toy Chest.
Despite having no experience in the industry, the toy store was a hit and has become a landmark of the downtown Hot Springs landscape, charming locals and tourist alike with almost 2,000 products to choose from.
What’s his favorite, you ask?
“Every salesman will show the things that he likes the most and in my entire shop, and we’ve got close to 2,000 items, the Lulu Jr. kits are my favorite one item,” says Marcus.
In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, the realm of children’s toys has not been left out. Classics like Jacks and Lincoln logs are being replaced with electronic and high tech items that do little to engage the imagination. As a toy store owner, how do you know which toys will sell?
“You buy based on a simple two letter word: DO. Children want to do things. So many products won’t allow them to do. It’s done for them. Lulu Jr. is a product designed for children to do. And that is a very important factor,” says Marcus.
With Lulu Jr. book-making kits, children can do anything. Travel to far off lands, play with magical creatures, and occasionally, in Imy’s personal experience, prevent heart surgery.
“I have a heart problem and was flying to the Cleveland Clinic for open heart surgery. The day before my flight, a young girl came into my store and she was just aglow. She handed me her completed book, and it was a very cute story, and I handed it back to the mother,” says Marcus.
But to Imy’s surprise, she insisted he keep it, and take a look at the dedication.
“The young lady knew about my heart surgery and she had dedicated the book to me. She said take it with you and it will bring you good luck.”
Imy followed her instructions and took the book with him to Cleveland. He arrived on Sunday, with the surgery scheduled for Thursday. After extensive tests on Monday and Tuesday, Imy was told by his doctors that his problem wasn’t severe enough to warrant the surgery and he could go home.
“Well, needless to say, I was elated. I went home, called the young lady to tell her what happened, and she is convinced that her book was the thing that prevented me from having open heart surgery,” says Marcus. “We still have the book and it is a treasured, treasured item in our family.”
Not all Lulu Jr. kits come with healing powers, but they all come with the opportunity to “do”. Pick up a few of our book-making kits today and see what your little ones come up with!
To hear more about Imy and the Toy Chest, check out our featured video here!