Such was the case with Ouray Toys, that once-thriving den of childish pleasures housed in the Story Block building at Seventh Avenue and Main Street, that went out of business last winter after an unsuccessful transfer of ownership, coupled with a tough economy, caused it to hit the skids.
Now Jan Sunderland, the co-owner of the Story Block building, is reopening the business under a new name.
O’Toys opens at 242 Seventh Avenue – Ouray Toys’ original basement location within the Story Block building – at the end of April. (The business had shifted from this location to a smaller Main Street space in the Story Block prior to shutting down.)
Sunderland’s retail experience in Ouray dates back to the early 90s when she started a business called the Quilt Cellar. She later ran a nonprofit shop called Handmade in Ouray, and then last summer started Saturday’s Treasures, an antiques store, in the Story Block.
“I really enjoy retail in Ouray,” she said. “I love chatting with the people who come in.”
Saturday’s Treasures was located in a retail space right next door to the old toy store location. As such, Sunderland knew better than most how sorely Ouray Toys was missed – particularly by its youngest would-be customers.
“We never took the awning down,” she said. “Families would come by looking for the toy store, and we’d hear the children crying, “It’s closed!”
Sunderland saw an opportunity to fill a need, while also filling a vacant commercial unit within the large building she co-owns with her husband Paul. “It was something really missed in Ouray,” she said. “We heard that a lot. It was a place to get a birthday present.”
Patrons at the new O’Toys will find “pretty much everything a toy store has,” said Sunderland, from baby toys to educational games, nostalgia items, and dress-up clothes.
Merchandise starts arriving April 1.
Sunderland, a former teacher and grandmother to three young children ages three and under (with another on the way) is most excited about the line of make-believe clothing – princess dresses, pirate outfits, and other stuff – for the dress-up box, which she is certain her grandchildren and other kids will adore.
She can’t wait for the day when her young grandchildren are big enough to brag that “My gramma and grampa own a toy store!”