Canberra-based independent toy store The Good Toy Shop announced its final closure on February 14.
Announcing the decision on its Facebook page, the store said that despite its love for customers and products, various factors, including digital disruption and rising costs, were behind the decision to close.
However, it wasn’t without trying that the store made the decision, with owner Lana Mitchell recounting Toy and hobby retailer that the business was growing and had multiple sources of income.
“[When] we bought this store, i estimated it was probably two to three years before we could cover it all and i thought i had it all covered.
âThen I continued to be taken by surprise by raising costs of all kinds and finding that cash flow was becoming a constant problem.
âBut our business continued to grow. We increased our revenue, we had more and more customers – over 5,000 customers came through our door last year – and we became NDIS registered and are the sole supplier. of toys from the Canberra area that is NDIS registered, âshe said.
âI explored all the options, I explored all the options I could think of,â Mitchell continues.
âI explored the possibility of moving the store; I explored closing the brick and mortar and going to an online store that doesn’t really match what our customers really want; I bought a van and we started going out and going to school parties. and carnivals.
âWe provided stocks to preschools and daycares; we provided schools with supplies of all kinds of things; and we even started offering a gift service to the retirement homes we visited at Christmas. and we were bringing them a mobile store because they have limited mobility and access and they were thrilled, âshe said.
However, despite these revenue streams, the difficulty of operating a small business in today’s retail climate has strained the store’s hand, Mitchell said.
“What frustrates me is because retail as an industry is changing, because there are big players, new players, new platforms, new ways and consumer habits are changing. also, when you look at that, you can’t just say, “well, I’ll just have the brick and mortar store and it’ll work,” it’s not like that anymore.
âYou have to think outside the box. And I think we were in the right direction and we were going in that direction, but when you are not backed by the bank you ask yourself ‘well, how does it work? -he? How are we supposed to do it? ‘
“When you look at the legal requirements to regulate what you have to do, whether it’s payroll, insurance or workers’ compensation and all those various things that come into play, then you look at the cash flow, there is no real support for the small business. You are in a rush.
“It’s like holding your breath and seeing how long you can hold it. It will change [though], things move and move and it’s going to change, but as a small business you have to be able to hold your breath for so long and I’m just out of breath, âshe said.
However, Mitchell is hoping that despite the heartbreaking decision to shut down, another retailer can sign up for NDIS and provide this service to the community.
âI hope others in the Canberra area will be NDIS registered.
“I am really worried because there is a real market out there in the disability sector for people with autism and other physical disabilities, there is no one else who has signed up for that than us.
“So maybe with our departure, maybe someone else will say, ‘Great, we’ll take this moment and help out,'” she said.
The Good Toy Shop is currently holding its closing sale with all products, inventory and accessories for sale.