Devon toy store takes on Smyths and Amazon

A small toy store fights against the odds and is still standing 30 years later.

The Trading Post opened in Kingsbridge in 1989 and has been a staple for local children ever since. even in the face of online shopping and a pandemic.

Recently, their efforts were recognized nationally after winning Retailer of the Year at the BTHA Awards.

Having worked at the store all her life, Julia Wingate took over from the previous owners when they retired and has now run the store for 20 years.

Julia said: “Online sales year on year have gone up and continue to go up, it’s impacting small independent stores like ours, but over the last year I think due to movement of Covid people has been restricted by the closures People have gotten to know their local businesses better.

The trading post won one of the BTHA’s Retailer of the Year awards

“There’s been a bit of a turnaround and people are definitely supporting their local stores more and are now more aware of where they shop.”

Julia continued: “People have started to realize now that you can’t leave your town that these independent stores are what makes your town. Without our bustling main street it would be very different, it would be barren.

“If we only had well-known chains and large supermarkets, it would be bleak. What you can get from independent and smaller chains is variety, individual items and bespoke things that have been made locally. When people have more time, they appreciate independent stores.”

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On Monday January 18, the store won the national award after being nominated by the British Toy and Hobby Association.

This year the prices were a bit different in light of the pandemic. The winners were chosen based on the extraordinary things the stores had done during the difficult year.

The awards were given to stores whose actions set them apart from the rest. Other award-winning toy stores include Toy Corner in Ireland, The Entertainer and Smyths Toys.

The Trading Post was one of two independently run stores and won the award.

Julia has owned the trading post for almost 20 years

On this, Julie continued, “I love being an independent store in a vibrant city with many other independent stores collectively we make the city an exciting place to live and work.

“It’s amazing that we won, I’m quite shocked and proud of the store and all of my staff who help make it what it is. It’s another indication that independent stores can provide a better experience. purchase and products than the multinational chains.”

Although England is in its third national lockdown, Julia explained that this time of year is usually quiet for toy companies, as many children play with the toys they received at Christmas, as well as people suffering financially from the pandemic.

She explained that the attitude towards the pandemic is now quite different to that of England’s first lockdown in March 2020.

She said: “Some people who were furloughed the first time saw it as an extended holiday but now we’re in our third lockdown people have cut holidays and wages it’s just less of everything .

“There’s less enthusiasm but a lot of us are coping with home schooling and there are a lot of people who aren’t on furlough now working from home. It’s a very different feeling there. , everyone is busy behind their front door”

The trading post is currently closed under government guidelines, however, it is open for click and collect service.

You can see their store here.

About Lola C. Chapman

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