Independent Toy Stores in the Hartford Area
Toys can be found nearly everywhere these days - convenience stores, pharmacies, and groceries stores - but there is something really special about shopping at an independent toy store. Such places are characterized by personalized service from people who truly love toys and do not take their presence in the community for granted. Consider visiting these family-owned establishments in the Hartford area, which help sustain local communities and guarantee places where your children's names and preferences are remembered.
The Toy Chest
The Toy Chest has been in West Hartford Center since 1956. When you walk through its doors (the front entrance accessible from Farmington Avenue, or the back entrance accessible from the parking lot behind the store), you will be welcomed by friendly staff who knows your name if you're a regular customer. The store is clean, well organized, and features quality toys that make learning fun and let imaginations soar. On the first floor, you'll find meaningful books, a large collection of Melissa and Doug toys, and unique board games and puzzles. The lower level features a large selection of furniture, bedding, and baby gear. Other services include courtesy gift-wrapping, in-store events, and a gift registry.
975 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford 860-233-5559
The Necker's store has been going strong since 1948. Celebrating childhood is important to Debbie Necker, who grew up working in the store with her father. When he passed away in 1996 at age 90, Debbie took ownership and gradually phased out the hardware items to create the toy store it is today. At Necker’s, you won’t find endless shelves of mass-produced items driven by technology. The emphasis is on hands-on toys, such as ant farms, planetariums, building sets, archery sets, crafts, and family-friendly games like Tenzi. The store is closed Tuesdays.
1591 Hopmeadow Street (Route 10), Simsbury 860-658-5783
The Perfect Toy
Family-owned and operated for over 28 years, this store is passionate about toys for every age and reason. Whether your children collect Lego sets, figurine horses, or are interested in dress-up, there will be something here to catch their interest. Expect to find a large collection of Melissa & Doug toys, along with crafts, and unique, high-quality board games from Peaceable Kingdom and Thinkfun.
290 West Main Street (Route 44), Avon 860-678-7015
Other stores that I have not personally checked out yet, but friends and acquaintances rave about:
The Wooden Toy
The Wooden Toy opened its doors in Rocky Hill in 1989 and slowly progressed from carrying mostly wooden toys to becoming one of the largest specialty toy stores in the area. To accommodate that growth, it moved to its current location in Wethersfield in January 2000.
1275 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield 860-529-1945
Amato’s Toy and Hobby
In addition to its generous collection of wooden ship models, wooden airplane models, and cars and trucks, the store also repairs and services all scales and brands of model trains, and all brands of radio control vehicles that it sells.
283 Main Street, New Britain 860-229-9069
Pinwheel's Toys & Games
Whether you're looking for play tents, garden sets, or in-store events and complimentary gift wrapping, Pinwheel's has you covered. According to its website, the product selection ranges from "nostalgic toys you may remember from your own childhood, to the newest, coolest toys on the block."
41 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury
Once Upon A Child
The largest kids' resale franchise in North America features stores that are individually owned and operated. Though not exclusive toy sellers, stores do buy and resell gently used toys (that are checked for safety recalls), and you never know what treasures you will find in any given store. Discounted prices and four locations in Hartford County could make for some fun treasure-hunting.
99 Farmington Avenue, Bristol 860-469-4092
1055 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield 860-748-4716
410 Middle Turnpike W, Manchester 860-881-2876
25 Palomba Drive, Enfield 860-745-9599