GREENSBORO, N.C. — As families spend time together, many look for fun things to do at home. The search has boosted the demand for children's toys and board games and one local toy store has started to do things differently.
"It has been very successful, we've been booming online," said Marc Holcomb of Toys and Co. at the Friendly Center in Greensboro.
Since the spread of coronavirus has continued in North Carolina and throughout the country, schools have closed and stay-at-home orders have restricted movement. Many children have been unable to also go on playdates, go to the playground or parks and parents can't take them to the toy stores.
The coronavirus pandemic has also caused shipping delays for folks shopping online for children's toys. So parents have now turned to local toy stores.
"People are really appreciative that they still have access to the toys that they need particularly in a time when people are spending a lot of time at home with family," Holcomb said although Toys and Co. has closed, phone and online sales have kept him busy.
"Games, puzzles have been just going crazy and I am scrambling to get new orders every day. We've seen our puzzle sales and game sales skyrocket, the other is outdoor toys things to get the kids outside,"
The store has also made a number of changes to meet demand and deliver fast. Before Governor Cooper's executive order went into effect on Monday, the store had offered curbside pick up, much the same way restaurants offer take-out. However, sales have now moved to only online and delivery.
"We have changed our websites to make it cleaner easier to shop and also giving the option for local same-day delivery. We have done, on a couple of occasions FaceTime, so we have the capability of engaging with customers that way," added Holcomb.
While a number of orders have been from folks who want to kill boredom and pass time, Holcomb said most are from parents looking for Educational toys to help with home school.
"Kids are at home and they're not at school a lot of parents now have the task of schooling their kids and we have different things to fit into that. Families are forced to stay at home and they are needing things to do and we are there to provide that entertainment," concluded Holcomb.
Essential health and safety items, as well as food items, have become shipping priority for larger online retailers like Amazon so non-essential items like toys and games are taking longer to deliver.
Overall sales are still down across the country because of the shutdown of businesses but local retailers can still serve online shoppers.