Spreading the love, one bear hug at a time…


It is a truly exciting time to be in the toy industry as a specialty toy retailer. Even up to 10 years ago, making a difference in our product offerings meant offering toys that are Made in the USA. The goal was to find as many toys that our customers would want that were made in America. To this day some of our bestselling lines are Uncle Goose Blocks and Maple Landmark Trains, which we have offered since the day we opened. However it seemed that there should be more room to “grow a conscience in the toy industry”.

And grow we did. Founded in 2007, Green Toys products are not only made in the USA, but made out of recycled plastic milk jugs. Plan Toys makes all their kid products from reclaimed wood (discarded rubber wood trees no longer producing sap). More women-owned toy companies entered the market. Some of my favorite women-owned companies to support include Peaceable Kingdom, Baby Paper, and Kaskey Kids. Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld sources “sheltered workshops” which employ folks with intellectual disabilities. Plan Toys got their employees out of usury-type debts and formed a credit union for them. Just like me, these companies are asking: “How can we make a difference in the world with our toy business?”. This year, Building Blocks switched to processing credit cards with Merchant Giving Project, which donates a portion of our fees to Reading in Motion. These days it’s almost a requirement for us to make a difference where we can, if we know we can.

Now the exciting part…

bears for humanity

Recently my independent sales rep, Mary, came to visit my store so we could talk about new toys, place orders, and catch up on what’s happening in the toy world. She put a teddy bear on my desk and I immediately thought it was such a beautiful classic teddy bear. The entire Building Blocks team swarmed to steal some bear hugs. Then she told us it is made out of it is made out of 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton……ooooh! Then she said the bear is assembled in  California……aaaah!…..by workers in a welfare program (Calworks)…..what?! And just when she had gotten me so eager to order these for our shop, she adds: “and for every bear your customer buys, one exactly like that (EXACTLY LIKE THAT) will be donated to a local charity of our choice.

bears for humanity eva

What local organization do you think the bears should be gifted to? Please tell your favorite charity to fill out this form for consideration: http://goo.gl/forms/26np9AXpff

We will select, with your help, a worthy organization to receive the bears. In the meantime, buy Bears for Humanity!

Thanks for reading,

Katherine Mchenry


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