Just got an email from Wallingford's Izilla Toys, which for 9 years has been a hub of toy-selling love for families -- first in the funky Madison Valley house, then in the shiny new store on Capitol Hill (complete with a rocket ship hidey hole for kids to crawl into) and, finally, at Wallingford Center. The store hosted music classes, craft workshops, story times, and, this summer, a Family Picnic Party Series that I had hoped they would repeat next year.
But it's not going to happen, because the store is closing. It's a loss for owners Jude Larene and Jen Schneeweis, whose son, Isaiah, gave the store its name (they called him "Izilla"). They threw themselves into the running of their business with a care that was obvious to anyone who had the pleasure of talking to them. They built a community around their store. And it's a loss for us, because there's nothing like going into a locally owned toy store with a well-chosen selection of toys, and talking to well-informed staff about what's new.
We oughta be kicking ourselves for allowing this to happen. Do you have a toy or book or shoe store in your neighborhood? Shop there. Shop local. Small local stores close when customers take their business online, however tempting that may be, and when small local stores close, we all lose.
Jude said it better in his good-bye email:
As we struggled with this decision, many thoughtful people asked what they could do to help. Here is the simple answer. If you want interesting and unique local shops to survive and eventually thrive you must do your shopping there. Go to your local shops BEFORE you go online. Go to them with the understanding that you may not get the same diversity of selection, but what you DO get is so much more important. You get expertise, passion and equity in the growth of your community. Locally owned business are the first to donate to your schools. Locally owned business are the first to reinvest in your neighborhoods. Locally owned businesses believed in your unique tastes and values enough to risk it all. They invested both in their own dreams and in the belief that you value your community's uniqueness. Please shop local. It's really, really important.
The store is selling off everything -- starting today, all merchandise is 25 percent off. On Thursday and Friday, everything is 40 percent off, and on the weekend it's 50 percent off.
Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.