An independent toyshop says it will not suffer from shortages this Christmas because most of its stock is sourced in Europe.
The owner of 44-year-old Duffy’s Toyworld says he has no fears about being able to stock his shelves and supply customers in the coming months.
In fact, because he sources his stock from Europe, Tony Duffy can almost guarantee his orders will arrive in less than a week after shipping.
Although Mr Duffy has noticed online sales soar since other toy stores warned of possible shortages due to Brexit and container prices from China, the veteran toy seller is “absolutely confident” his shelves will be full for customers.
Mr Duffy, who is in his 70s, has been running the toyshop in Dunleer, Co Louth since he took the business over from his father John in 1966 and concentrates on stocking toys “without an on button.”
No electronic toys
Mr Duffy said: “Our sales have certainly increased over the few days since this story emerged but our sales generally start to increase now anyway, due to people’s Christmas shopping habits.
“In our case, Christmas buying usually starts for us when the children go back to school but our products are different from many other stores.
“We have avoided selling electronic toys because we want to completely concentrate on fuelling the child’s imagination and developmental skills.
“There is no on switch here. We focus on passive toys which initiates play and can spark the child’s curiosity, imagination, perseverance and problem-solving skills.
We have more model horses than John Wayne for the adult kids
“We also sell one of the country’s biggest ranges of sensory toys and it’s lovely to see the face of an adult with autism picking up a puppet and using it here.”
“Toys like Monchichis make adults go wobbly at the knees as they bring back such happy memories and we have more model horses than John Wayne for the adult kids.
“To us, it’s all about imagination and we only provide the tools for children and big kids to use it.
“We stock a lot of a little in terms of ranges which promote open-ended play and role-play toys.”
Nearer to home
Mr Duffy said he has little fear of supply shortages amid Brexit as his suppliers are “nearer to home”.
“I have no fear of running out of the type of toys we sell because ours are not shipped from China or the Far East.
“Our supply is much nearer to home. In fact, we can order products from Germany on Sunday and it will be shipped no later than Tuesday and delivered to us probably early the following week.”
When the shop was closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, Mr Duffy admitted that “cold online sales” were just not the same as personal interaction.
About 30 per cent of his customers are “big kids” who flock to the shop for toys of yesteryear such as Monchichi, jigsaws and model farm machinery.