Friday, September 14, 2012

Thrift Review: Toys Are Used of Grand Haven, Michigan





5 out of 5 Thrift Chicks!

Toys Are Used: Grand Haven, MI
 1320 Kooiman Avenue
      Grand Haven, MI 49417
616.842.5200 

I had almost forgotten about this hidden little gem (after not visiting for almost five years) until this afternoon, as I pondered over how I would spend my lunch break. 

As I cruised down the nearest cross street, the sign struck me and I remembered that I wanted to look for extra Legos for my son to build with. He's recently become entirely obsessed with Lego kits of all kinds, and if you weren't already aware, the price of one small box of Legos these days is darn near the cost of a small grocery trip--and I'm too cheap for that!

I turned onto Kooiman Avenue and approached the darling little building that was the original "draw" for me years ago. The shape is so vintage and fab--very similiar to an Airstream. A semi-circle of aluminum sheeting with yellow trim and a pram parked outside most days, the building itself is so fun! 




And then...you open the door. ;) How could I not pull out my iPhone, and decide to share it with you all today? I started to snap away as I ventured inside...

The toys are so incredibly plentiful and closely stacked that literally every inch...wait, MILLIMETER...is covered with pile after pile of board games, dolls, science kits, dinosaurs, horse collections, and anything else you could imagine.

One could almost become claustrophobic...if one wasn't a small child ready to pee themselves with delight. ;)


As I slowly walked around, taking it all in, I heard a small voice say, "Hello!". Peeking in at the teeny register area towards the front of the building, I didn't see anyone, so I just kept exploring, right around the corner to more walls packed to the gills with secondhand childhood treasures, until I almost died of a heart attack. Can you see why from the picture below?




At this point, I assumed Toys are Used was selling some freakishly humanoid life size Barbie doll! 
But only for moment.  
Meet Pamela, the energetic and LONG TIME owner of Toys Are Used (23 years now!). She just happened to be curled up in a pile of stuffed animals when I came to visit, happily eating her lunch. 

I thought this was quite hilarious (after I recovered from the shriek I let out) and fitting that someone who loves toys so much would choose to recline amongst all of her treasures.



And plenty of treasures there are!



Toys are Used is both a consignment and resale shop, and yes--the prices are a little higher than the average, bottom of the line thrift store (and I do love my cheap prices). However, you can find great deals at Toys Are Used and HERE is why the value is great: the toys are cared about here. Not only are they truly appreciated and celebrated (clearly communicated through their loving display and careful stocking) but they are also well accounted for, clean, and taken care of. Pamela claims to know every piece from all of her board games--and I believe her. 

She welcomes parents arriving with their children to play, test and peruse for hours, and willingly offers suggestions of toys that children might like, having "just the thing" in a box or on top of a high shelf. To me, that kind of enthusiasm and energy is worth a bit of a premium.


I'd say for any parent, teacher or toy collector, Toys are Used is a must see. In fact, before I had my son and I was teaching preschool, I'd often stop here because I knew I'd be able to find just what I was looking for, and in decent shape. So come and check it out, from Monday through Saturday in Grand Haven!



Just watch out for the well camouflaged Miss Pamela. ;)

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