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"We're just trying to help get people the things that they need." Local toy stores offering new ways to shop

Posted at 10:16 AM, Mar 27, 2020

So many local businesses can no longer welcome the public inside their brick and mortars, that's why some of the Central Coast's most prized children stores are finding new ways to shop.

One of the best parts of being a kid is getting to go to the toy store but as Californians are told to shelter-at-home, Lisa Smith, the owner of Whiz Kids in San Luis Obispo, says her business model is changing.

"A lot of what we do are impulse sales. You know, kids come in, they choose a book, their mom buys it," Smith said.

Due to restrictions on how certain businesses can operate as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, Whiz Kids in San Luis Obispo is relying on social media and phone orders.

"We're taking phone calls and social media direct messages and we're just trying to help get people the things that they need," Smith said.

Smith says the store is also offering home deliveries for customers within the city limits of San Luis Obispo.

"We're Keeping the store and all the products wiped clean, bagging everything and just doing porch drop-offs and then we get back in the car, call the customer, they come out and get it, so no contact," Smith said.

In downtown San Luis Obispo, Tom's Toys has also had to close its doors, but Jillian Wahlquist, the company's Vice President, says there has been a spike in online sales as a result.

"We do sell on Amazon.com so we have been setting up quite a few of our listings, enabling them to ship from our Montrose location," Wahlquist said.

She says, beyond Amazon sales, the popular toy store is developing other plans on how they can serve the Central Coast.

"There's kids with birthdays coming up, things like that, when during this time it's important to give children a sense of normalcy," Wahlquist said.

While the present day may seem a little off and the community waits to finds its way back to a normal routine, maybe the uncertainty will bring on new traditions.

"I think those of us that are in business are trying to come up with new ways to stay in business," Smith said. "I think as families in business we're trying to find new ways to be families together."