The Woodbridge independent toy shop, Toytown is preparing to close its doors for the last time this month, ending a High Street legacy that has spanned three decades.
Run by sibling owners, Simon Adams and his sister Kym Blowers, Toytown has stood proud along Woodbridge’s Church Street for some 34 years. For 28 years, it was managed by Peter Sheldrake before it was bought by the pair around five and a half years ago.
Adams and Blowers have cited a number of reasons for the decision, including competing in an internet age of shopping, facing increased business rates, and health issues that have arisen in the most recent years.
Toytown is currently hosting a closing down sale as it prepares to shut up shop on February 29th this year, ending a 30 year run on the High Street for the shop, and a 40 year career in toys for Adams himself.
Having started out in 1989, Adams ran the toy shop on Heath Road in Ipswich for around 26 years before making the move to Woodbridge.
Adams has said that a lot of changes have swept the toy industry since he first started, and where kids were once buying into the likes of Sylvanian Families and Monopoly in their droves, recent years have seen more attention paid to tablets and iPads.
“Children are on their tablets now,” he told the East Anglian Daily Times. “Toys used to still be bought by 12 or 13 year old children but now, by the time they get to ten, they are getting out of toys. Kids don’t want to play outdoors, they want to sit in.”
John Risby, director of Choose Woodbridge, a local group established to support independent traders in the area, said: “It is always extremely sad to lose a stalwart business with a long history and affiliation with our town, and we are to hear the owners felt that the rise in online shopping, among other reasons, was having an impact on their business.
“Woodbridge is very lucky to boast so many unique independent stores and it is this which keeps footfall strong and has helped us retain a loyal customer base. However, we need everyone to continue to support their local businesses or risk losing them altogether.”