If you are looking to shop for beautiful, bespoke toy tractors while still receiving a firm Yorkshire welcome, then there is only one place that will do.
Hillside Toys is located in the heart of Ingleton, a small village on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
While the village is widely known for its beautiful caves and waterfalls, locals are also aware of the constant stream of farmers who stop at the store near the A65 to purchase toy tractors, Land Rovers, quads and loaders for their children or, as is the case. often the case, to add to their own growing collection.
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Owner Brian Huck, now 70, decided to turn the site into a toy store in the early ’90s during what he said was a time of recession for the farming community.
“We had to do something,” he said. “We already had an industrial area where we sold tractors and equipment to farmers, but they suddenly stopped buying them. Not because of us, but things got tense.
“We decided to do something different and got into farm toys. If it’s not related to farming, we don’t stock them.”
It was a good decision and Brian said that since the inception of the business the business has “grown and grown and grown”.
While selling toys imported from all over Europe, the store is particularly popular for toy tractors made on site by Brian’s son William, with whom he runs the business.
The beautifully designed and highly detailed models are a hit with customers who travel far and wide, with buyers not only purchasing them as toys but also to add as part of their collection.
Brian said: “There are passionate collectors of farm toys. They are not toys because they are not cheap.”
The store is now approaching its busiest season and Brian said he has been stocking up for Christmas for several months.
He said: “It’s already busy, but we made sure we were prepared.
“After leaving the EU the paperwork changed and Covid hasn’t helped, but so far we haven’t suffered from a shortage.”
Inside the store is what visitors regularly refer to as an “Aladdin’s Cave” of farm toys, with shelves filled with all kinds of models.
The pleasure that customers get from visiting the store is well worth it, as Brian says: “We couldn’t do a desk job from 9 to 5. We want to be in the community and do something we’re proud of. . “
Tractors and farm equipment are also still sold on the site, with lots of custom products coming from overseas.
However, despite selling toys and bringing joy to children, Brian takes no prisoners when it comes to running the store and has rules that he follows.
He said: “We don’t offer any form of delivery service for any of our models in the UK. If you don’t come and see us you won’t get it.
“It means people will inevitably come back and in some cases you have passing farmers who will pass by to buy something.”
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He said he made exceptions for toys delivered overseas and shipped his tractors to collectors in the United States, Canada, Europe and New Zealand.
Brian decided to start farming 10 years before opening the store, saying, “Farming is too slow for me. I haven’t done it for 40 years now.
“One harvest per year is not enough. When you sell toys, it’s like constantly growing and selling a crop.
“You may have a bad day, but you can just start the next one over. “
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