POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – A man and his young son walked into the new Lil Beans Toy & Sports store in Scotts Corners late Thursday morning in somewhat of a panic.
“We need a wrapped present for a birthday party for a young boy,” he told Dawn Decker, the store’s owner.
“When’s the party?” Decker asked.
“In a couple of hours,” the man replied.
After the happy customers left with their purchase, Decker grinned and nodded.
“Actually, since we opened, birthday parties are our biggest business,” she said. “We pre-wrap a lot of our popular items.”
The new Pound Ridge toy store, located in the space most recently occupied by Eileen Godfrey’s dollhouse and miniature’s store, opened just over a month ago, right after Hurricane Sandy.
“We opened on Nov. 1 and had no power for three days,” Decker said. “But we did a lot of business. People were coming in looking for something their kids could do.”
Decker and her husband, Bob, moved from Southern California to Pound Ridge seven years ago. Bob works in the finance industry, while Dawn’s career is in software sales. But they longed to open their own store.
“We wanted to open a business, but couldn’t decide what to do,” Decker said. “But we missed having a toy store in town – we have three boys, so we thought that might be it. I mean, who doesn’t love a toy store?”
As the Deckers mulled their options, they discovered that the space at Godfrey’s old store had become available.
“It was almost fated,” Decker said.
Decker said she didn’t really know exactly what products to carry when she began planning the store.
“We created a list of categories that we wanted to represent,” she said. “I started doing research and talked to vendors that were more small-store friendly, and I talked to other toy store owners.”
Decker said she wanted to create a small-town “old-timey” feel to the store – something that was somewhat nostalgic but still with a selection of modern toys. So, shoppers will still find things like LEGOs and board games such as Monopoly and Operation as well as tin and wood toys.
“But we also have nontraditional things you won’t get in the big toy stores, such as this stuff that’s like a scented Play-Doh and other high-quality toys,” she said.
The store also has a modest selection of sporting goods, including footballs and basketballs.
“The goal of the sporting section is consumable goods,” Decker said. “If a kid loses a pair of socks, you don’t have to drive all the way to Modell’s to replace them.”
The first month has gone well for Lil Beans.
“Business is steadily climbing as people realize we are here,” Decker said. “We are getting positive feedback from the community. One customer told us, ‘We want to buy something because we don’t ever want you to go away.’ ”
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