HADONFIELD – If you’re taking the kids on your next trip to Haddonfield, expect to be drawn to another store or two.
Two recently opened businesses have bright and welcoming storefronts and plenty of toys inside that might prove to be irresistible to young customers.
The stores, Stella & Toni and Ninja’s Little Toy House, are among a dozen new arrivals to downtown Haddonfield this year, with two more businesses slated to open on Kings Highway in October.
“Haddonfield is a family town,” said Remy Fortunato, retail recruiter for The Haddonfield Partnership, a group that helps promote and support inner-city businesses. “Even stores that are not children’s stores are trying to meet the needs of children.”
For example, she mentioned, In the Kitchen Cooking School offers classes for all ages, Indulgence Cupcakery hosts cupcake wars for kids, and Inkwood Books runs book clubs and other activities for kids. teens.
Plus, seasonal special events such as the Haddonfield Fall Festival on October 13 will include scarecrow making and other family favorites.
Could other kid-friendly businesses be on the way?
Fortunato said she would like to see places that fit the “niche” for middle school kids walking around downtown after school to eat and socialize.
“Clothes for boys and girls in their teenage years and a place that offers virtual reality games… these are things that we are aggressively looking for.”
Stella & Toni
From the outside, Stella & Toni looks like a doll store.
But it’s actually a “doll experience,” said its owner, Melissa Fiorentino, who has outfitted the open space at 140 Kings Highway East with picnic tables where the girls can sit with a parent. – and a doll – to make crafts or simply enjoy a snack.
It’s a good fit for the buying habits of young parents and other millennials, the Haddonfield Partnership for Fortunato said.
“The new generation is moving away from big box stores and really want something that can provide a more interactive experience, rather than just shopping,” she said.
Stella & Toni involves the whole family, even the dolls; each table has a removable doll booster seat for the guest of honor.
Signs on the doll clothes shelves carry messages such as “Be adventurous” and “Get dolled up”.
“I want this to be a place where little girls feel good about themselves,” said Fiorentino, who has three children: Luciano, 6; Stella, 4; and Antonia, 1. The store is named after the girls, Stella and Toni.
Fiorentino also knows she needs it to be a place where customers do more than shop, noting “if you don’t have experience retailing is tough.”
“We are so quick to buy from Amazon,” she admitted. “… You need convenience, but at the same time, it’s nice to do something together.”
Her own experience at the American Girl Store in New York City inspired her business. Fiorentino said Stella had a blast after receiving a bag for shopping and invited to participate in activities with her doll.
Remembering those shopping bags at the American Girl Store, Fiorentino lined up mini carts at the front of his store. “Girls are instantly independent when they take the cart into their hands.”
Fiorentino lives with her husband Jason and their children in Audubon, where she also owns the Glamor Me beauty salon. She said she was looking for another business where she could spend time with the children.
Haddonfield was a draw for Fiorentino, who lived in the borough and ‘loved the vibe’.
She and Jason were having lunch in Haddonfield at a restaurant across from a vacant storefront when it all happened.
“When I saw that, I knew it was space,” she said, sitting next to Stella at one of the rose-covered tables in the store. She said she designed the activities by watching how Stella played.
The next challenge was to find 18 inch dolls that would have the appeal and fit the clothes of American Girl dolls, but at a lower price.
It took her a while, but she tracked down a maker (she won’t name which) who allowed her to sell dolls for $ 50. Many dolls listed on the American Girl website cost $ 115.
Stella & Toni has a party room at the back of the store and can close the store for big parties. There are packages, but Fiorentino works with clients who want to personalize their event.
The store regularly hosts craft activities and paid events like “Brunch with Belle,” but walk-in tours are always welcome, Fiorentino said.
“If they come after school, they can come do their homework and have a snack.
Among all the activities inside the store, there is something noticeably missing.
“I didn’t see any children come in and turn on the phone,” Fiorentino said.
To learn more about Stella & Toni, visit stellaandtoni.com or search for “Stella & Toni” on Facebook.
Ninja’s Little Toy House
Give most kids a new toy and they can’t open it fast enough.
This was not the case with Manuel Senquiz, a kid from the 1990s who collected Dragon Ball, Transformers, and Power Rangers items – and left almost all of them in the original boxes.
“I had a fantastic collection. I would buy it in perfect condition, in the box, and I wouldn’t want it damaged,” Senquiz said.
He grew up, married and had four children – but kept the collection, much to the chagrin of his wife, Marilynn.
“She said, ‘Let me clean the attic!’ I had so much stuff. Toys R Us had just closed… it was the nudge that it was time to open the store.
The store, Ninja’s Little Toy House, a few storefronts from PATCO Station, is full of older collectibles and newer merchandise featuring characters from Pokémon, Marvel, and other pop culture favorites.
“Half of the inventory is from my personal collection,” Senquiz said.
There’s an old Avengers gauntlet, original Dragon Ball card decks, a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Titanus, and other items that will be familiar to those who grew up in the days of Nickelodeon and Nirvana.
Senquiz is new to running a business, having previously worked in facility maintenance and as a martial arts instructor. But he thinks he offers something special to collectors like him.
“What you have here you can’t get anywhere else,” Senquiz said, adding that his store’s customer service and loyalty program are perks as well.
Plus, buyers can see they’re getting the real deal in person instead of trusting online orders, he said.
For example, the popular Funko POP! the figures come with a rare “Chase” version in each shipment. Senquiz showed off a standard version of the Disney Porkchop figure and a flocked Chase edition that carries a special sticker.
Ninja’s also features custom items created by a local tech-savvy artist – there’s an arcade box preloaded with a variety of classic games compatible with smart TVs and handmade docks / stands for Nintendo Switch consoles.
Senquiz, of Merchantville, said his children – ages 5 to 16 – and his wife were a helpful resource as he decided on the newest items to carry around the store.
“I was picking stuff for a more advanced age group instead, and my wife said, ‘What about a 5-year-old girl or a 7-year-old boy?'” Said Senquiz, who also asks customers what. they would like to do. see in store. “It’s really good that our mentalities can complement each other.”
So the store carries all types of “blind bags”, toys such as LOL Surprise dolls and Minecraft figures, as well as the Pokémon characters Senquiz found are very popular in Haddonfield.
If you go into the store and ask for a particular Pokémon, please be patient with Senquiz: it’s still learning all the names.
“My 5 year old knows them all. He makes me ashamed.”
To learn more about Ninja’s Little Toy House, call 856-428-2860 or search for “Ninja’s Little Toy House” on Facebook.
Coming soon to Haddonfield
- Unique gift items, home decorations and plants will fill up Meraki Market at 136 Kings Highway East. The opening weekend will take place from October 12 to 14 with gifts, gifts with purchase and champagne.
- Also coming in October, Verona Ristorante Italiano will bring authentic Italian fare to its location at 141 Kings Highway East – the space formerly occupied by The Little Tuna.
- And The candy buffet, a sweet Haddonfield institution since 2001, is moving from 220 Kings Highway East to the center of the downtown district. The new spot at 138 Kings Highway East is next to Stella & Toni.
Sheri Berkery: @SheriBerkery; 856-486-2673; [email protected]
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