‘We’re all like household, so we care’: Why workers say supporting Guelph’s impartial toy retailer is ‘merely fantastic’
Many Guelph residents are out shopping for holiday gifts, and toys might just be on the top of their lists. Local store Simply Wonderful Toys & Gizmos, located at 10 Paisley St., specializes in traditional and imaginative toys and games, learning and craft items and has a great plush toy collection. Staff members said they still have many holiday items left, but those will be selling fast.
Keeley Cea and Sean O’Brien, two of the full-time store managers, said there are many benefits to shopping at local independent stores like Simply Wonderful and shared why this store is so special. Here are the top five reasons to check it out:
1.YOU WILL BE CONTRIBUTING TO AND CELEBRATING THE STORE’S LONG HISTORY.
Simply Wonderful has been a downtown treasure for a long time, and O’Brien said they want to keep the store open for many more years to come.
“It’s actually our 30th anniversary this year, 1992 was the original opening,” said O’Brien, who shared that he has worked there himself for 15 years.
Cea, in her fifth year of working at the store, said that it’s the loyal customers that keep them running, and they even have regulars. Because of that, they run a loyalty program for customers to earn points toward their purchases.
2.YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING A FAMILY-RUN BUSINESS.
When you shop at Simply Wonderful you can be comforted that you are supporting a local family and longtime staff. O’Brien said the owner is his aunt, and many other family members have worked there over the years.
“Even the staff who aren’t technically our family- they become family,” said O’Brien. “We are really close and COVID brought us even closer.”
In fact, O’Brien said that he and Cea are dating, so they even found love in this special store. They both agreed that the close relationships of the staff, and the community surrounding them makes a huge difference for the store and their own lives.
3.YOU CAN STILL ORDER ONLINE FOR CURBSIDE PICKUP.
During COVID-19 lockdowns, the store was able to improve their website for online orders. This was no small feat, according to O’Brien, who said he didn’t know if it would be possible to add every item online. He credited a neighboring store owner for providing website help, Kieran Dunn of Janus Books.
“We wouldn’t have made it without a website,” said Cea, who explained that people can order online but also search for things before coming into the store.
4.THE STAFF IS KNOWLEDGEABLE AND HELPFUL.
And it is this kind of commitment from long term staff that keeps people coming back. Although Cea said it was weird saying it, but she really does think the customer service makes a difference.
“We’re willing to walk around with you and show you stuff, and kind of explain it. We have a good knowledge of the products,” she said.
O’Brien said he likes to talk to people and share stories and give the customers a good experience.
“We’re all like family, so we care,” he said.
5.THEY HAVE GREAT QUALITY ITEMS FOR ALL AGES.
Simply Wonderful carries many different types of toys and games, small and large in the store. So far, the trend they are seeing this holiday season is that the early-bird shoppers are buying bigger items first, according to O’Brien. Other than that, they have collectibles which are always popular, such as Ty Beanie Boos and the coveted Squishmallows, a big collection of games and classic toys that parents may remember from their own childhoods.
Most of all, Cea and O’Brien said the store is about fun, games and putting smiles on children’s faces. To learn more visit simplywonderfultoys.ca.