Story by Emily Williams • Photos by Jordan Wald
What have you learned about the importance of toys during this pandemic?
Kids have had enough screen time with their schooling. So, parents want to get their kids away from their screens with toys. They are wanting more puzzles, games, art kits and just tried-and-true pieces – even Barbies – because you just want some good 3D play where you can use your hands.
What have you learned about your customers and yourself in your store during this pandemic?
Hopefully, after being here for 32 years, we’ve built up some trust within the community. Now they are trusting us even more. If you Google “best gift for a 13-year-old boy,” it’s going to come up with whoever paid the most for that ad. Unlike online buying, when you come into the store, you can see it, you can touch it and you can feel it.
If you don’t want to come in and shop for health and safety reasons, we offer curbside pickup. We have a bin out front where we can place your gifts, or we can drop them off in your car. We can even shop with you over FaceTime or send pictures of our products. We’ll go with the flow and do whatever we need to do to meet you where you are. Truly, that’s where the joy comes in retail. It’s not about standing behind the counter scanning things, it is the interactions and relationships we create with others.
What have people (Santa’s helpers) been buying for the holidays so far?
Santa’s helpers are shopping earlier this year because they have heard about shipping delays. We’ve already found that with a couple of items that are in our holiday catalog. Stock has started running low, so we have re-ordered them. But by the time they ship it to me – if it ships on time – it may be mid-December.
New and Exciting
One of George’s top picks of the holiday season is the Toniebox, $99.99, which is brand new to the store this year. Parents can record themselves reading bedtime stories and purchase additional themed characters, $14.99.
“It runs on Wi-Fi, so you can take it to the bedroom, take it to the sofa, wherever,” George added. You can also record up to 90 minutes of stories, delete them and refill it with brand new content.
The Ion Party Rocker Express, $89.99, is the latest and greatest form of karaoke, complete with a large speaker and colorful light display.
“We got these in, sold out of them within a day,” George said. “We reordered and got about 10 in, but we feel relatively good about getting even more in stock.”
No holiday list is complete without a good remote control car. George’s pick is the Split Wheel Car, $29.99, which transforms from a car into a sleek, robotic structure with the press of a button.
The new STEM game Genius Star, $24.99, is a gift for the whole family that provides a fun, educational challenge.
Crafty kids will love the new DIY Miniature House kits, $29.99 and $49.99. Kits include materials to build a small room and fill it with furniture and decor.
“You build everything,” he said. “And the coolest thing is that there is a little LED light inside so you can light up your room.”
Buildzi, $24.99, the latest from the makers of Tenzi and Slapzi, is a race to see who can build vertically in the shortest amount of time.
Looking to send your kids outside? George loves the new Dome Rocker, $99.99, a large inflatable rocking sphere.
“Imagine walking outside on Christmas morning to see that in your yard?”
Making a Comeback
“Everybody always loves Legos,” George said, which start at $10.99. They are a standard at any time of year. New offerings for the holiday season are the Speed collection and SuperMario.
Soft, fuzzy shorts by iScream, $19.99, are always a hit, and the store has a variety of new holiday prints available.
Another standard that can always be found on Snoozy’s shelves are WOW toys, starting at $14.99.
“They are for kids 1-5, which is a great group of ages,” George said. The line includes collectable figures and play sets for babies and toddlers following themes that include farming, construction and racing.
Tonka trucks truly stand the test of time, George said, because they make such a statement on Christmas morning.
“If you walk into a room full of Christmas gifts and you see that sitting in the corner, unwrapped, what would you do?” George said.” You would go straight over to that toy and start playing.”
Though it is a fairly new addition to the world of plush toys, Squishmallows will be as big a hit this year as they were in 2019. The new Miniature Squishmallows, $2.99, are also a great stocking stuffer.
“They have these new small sizes and then there are scented ones that come in a blind package, so you don’t know what you are getting.”
The Baby Einstein Deluxe Magic Touch Piano, $39.99, is a new spin on the classic baby piano. It’s made for babies as young as 6 months, George said, “and the sound is spot-on. It’s not so loud that it hurts the baby’s ears.”
New holiday-themed Da Bombs, $7.99, are the perfect addition to a stocking. As they melt away in water, each bath bomb reveals a surprise.
Chameleon Markers, $22.99, are for artsy kids looking for a new medium to explore.
“You can blend the colors by taking the pink marker and putting the red top on it for a few seconds, then the blue for a few seconds,” George said. “When you start writing it changes and blends the colors.”
The store also carries Chameleon art portfolios, $19.99.
Lego Advent Calendars, $42.99, are for all age groups. They have been tucked away since mid-summer, George said, and are now available while supplies last.
“These are for the young, the young at heart and we even have an option for the little, little ones.” There also is a 12 Days of Christmas makeup calendar, $19.99, for older age groups.
According to George, the store also has been selling a ton of Soda Can Cars, $14.99.
“These are great stocking stuffers.” he said. “They each include small remote control cars.”
Finally, sweet treats for the holidays are a must. George said that kids and adults with a sweet tooth will love Candy Club’s holiday treats, which include Holiday Trees, Santa’s belts and Santa’s cookies.
Snoozy’s Kids is at 228 Country Club Park in Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village. For more information, call 205-871-2662 or visit the store’s Facebook page.