Round’ these parts, there are still places where little toy soldiers can actually have fun while parents look for what feels like the fiftieth birthday gift for the fiftieth birthday party of the year. A place where the person behind the counter is usually the owner, the owner’s family, or a longtime manager who knows everything there is to know about toys. Yup, the toy store of yore, some still exist! They’ve managed to survive the retail monsters who’ve plopped themselves down in a behemoth of a space somewhere down the road. So next time you need a gift, a new addition to the household stash, or just maybe a half an hour of peace, hit up one of these super cool spots. Not only will you be supporting a local business, but the kiddos will have a blast to boot.
Inspired by a Parisian stroll, leave it to mother-daughter duo Nancy and Chaffee Brathwaite to craft the most chic selection of items for trendy tots. Look for lines like Marie Chantal and Serena and Lilly mixed with eco-minded toys from companies like Melissa and Doug and soft huggable from Bearington and Blabla. Geared mostly towards the two-and-under set, this is the spot to shop for swanky saplings.
Prize: Their trademark cloth bags can be re-purposed for travel laundry bags.
102 West Paces Ferry Road NW
Hours: Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The dime store of yesteryear lives on at Richard’s Variety! Jam-packed with toys ranging from hard-to-find board games to classics like magic sets, rubber chickens and Loom Looper’s Potholder kits—this is where you will find the toys you remember playing with as a child. Operation, anyone? Let your little one play on the train table while you soak in their selection of party decorations, greeting cards, gift items and other randomness.
Prize: Bring change for a ride on the iconic horse.
2347 Peachtree Road NE
Hours: Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sun: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Bean Head Toys
With a philosophy that fun and learning should go hand in hand, Bean Head stocks an assortment of toys, books, games and activity kids designed to stimulate curiosity and creativity. Stock up here on science kits, a plethora of stuff designed for pretend play, and other educational toys.
Prize: The staff is great at suggesting age-appropriate gifts when you are stumped for ideas.
Don’t be surprised if you bump into other moms at this popular destination as this is the prime spot to shop for presents pre-party. Parents love the selection of demo toys scattered throughout the store which keeps tots occupied while they browse.
Prize: They offer complimentary personalization painting any item with a child’s name and gift wrapping is free.
1401 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Hours: Mon – Fri: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, Sat: 10:00 – 5:00 pm, Sun: 12:00 – 5:00 pm
Hawking wares hand-knitted by artisans from Peru, the flagship for Blabla’s much-coveted line of of soft dolls, clothing and decor is right here in Virginia Highlands. Put the catalog down and find the full line here—the perfect spot to pick up something special and cuddle with their collection of adorable dolls.
Prize: Keep an ear out for their sample sale where you can score one-of-a-kind pieces.
Rachel Baba’s carefully curated shop offers a selection of simple wooden toys, books, crafts and clothing for children from newborn to age 12. Find Jess Brown rag dolls mixed with Hape wooden toys and a well-edited selection of favorite story books.
Prize: Follow them on Instagram for inspiring ideas and witty insights into the brains behind their brand.
What is your favorite neighborhood toy store in the Atlanta area? We want to know!
Photo 1: Photo Courtesy of B Braithwaite via Facebook
Photo 2: Photo Courtesy ajc.com
Photo 3: Photo Courtesy Bean Head Toys
Photo 4: Photo Courtesy of Learning Express
Photo 5: Photo Courtesy blabla
Photo 6: Photo Courtesy Seed Factory