Who could have predicted that the pandemic would make baby toys popular with teenagers? Coronado Geppetto’s Store Manager Colette O’Brien says that she has been surprised yet delighted to see the shift in toys appealing to a variety of ages. For example, the Dimpl toy, typically a sensory toy for babies, now resonates with teens who can’t resist fidgeting with them during Zoom classes.
The most popular items sold during the pandemic have been Legos, ride-on toys like scooters, and puzzles and board games for the whole family to enjoy during all this togetherness. With a range of products sure to please everyone from age 0 to 100, prices start at $1.00 for a squishy emoji to $270 for the Taj Mahal Lego set. O’Brien says she relishes recommending trendy or unique gifts based on her expertise, and she feels customers appreciate the personalized service. She also loves seeing kids come in with their own money to purchase toys, and says they usually put a lot of thought into their selections.
O’Brien says that people’s buying habits have changed over the past year, with many scooping up puzzles and board games for family activities. Geppetto’s carries a selection of new games like the creative Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza card game to the popular German Settlers of Catan, to classics like Monopoly. She says that parents are looking for ways to offset screen time and are gravitating to active toys to get kids outside. “Parents are also looking for boredom busters and those come in a variety of forms,” she comments.
With 10 Geppetto’s stores, President Brian Miller says that the Coronado store has been one of their most productive during the pandemic. And although overall sales are down, Coronado has had some more profitable months versus previous years. He notes that typically Coronado Geppetto’s has a mix of 50/50 revenue from tourists and locals, but this past year has seen local support increase to 80 percent of sales. Both say the holidays were busy, with people wanting to get in the festive spirit, and they are thankful for the many residents who shopped local. Complimentary gift wrapping is a huge plus so that presents are ready to give.
As soon as customers enter the store, they are warmly greeted by either O’Brien or one of the other friendly employees. The store was only closed for three weeks and she says they have gotten excellent traction by upping their social media game on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Kids have been coming in to ask for products they saw featured in the fun videos. Geppetto’s had the advantage of already having a comprehensive website, but Miller and O’Brien say it was updated, and a special link was created for customers to order and request curbside pickup, which has been popular.
Product assortment is way too numerous to list, but a sampling includes squeezable Squishmallows, a wide array of stuffed animals, lava lamps, trains, arts and crafts, small collectibles, books, and retro toys like a Curious George Jack-in-the-Box. Geppetto’s also offers ordering by phone, and staff are willing to talk customers through their inventory to find the perfect gift or toy. They are also willing to schedule private shopping times before the store opens, if needed for people to feel safe. They have put all the COVID safety precautions in place with sanitization, hand sanitizer, and limiting the number of customers in the store.
Miller and O’Brien say they miss the kids’ smiles behind the masks, because they are in the business of making children happy. They can’t wait to interact more with their customers and return to hands-on experiences.
Geppetto’s is located at 1146 Orange Avenue and also offers gift certificates if parents, grandparents, family members, or friends are undecided. Find Geppetto’s on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, oorder on their website at www.geppettostoys.com/ or call 619-522-0918.