At first it might seem incongruous, selling children’t toys at a hardware store. But for major toy manufacturer Melissa & Doug it makes perfect sense.
“We have tool-related toys,” said M&D’s trade show merchandiser Kyle Oberly at the recent winter 2020 NY NOW home/lifestyle/handmade/gift market trade show at New York’s Javits Center, where his company had a sizable and varied selection—including the “Deluxe Tool Belt” and “Take-Along Tool Kit”--on the exhibitors’ floor.
“Ace Hardware in particular carries our product,” Oberly added. “A lot of stores carry a shelf or two, and you often see it in window displays.”
Melissa & Doug product has been in hardware stores with its tool and construction sets at least five years, according to Oberly.
“We have spring stuff, too,” he said of M&D gardening-related toys, noting that the company looks at gardening equipment stores as another non-traditional retail outlet.
“We look for retail spaces that match themes,” explained Oberly. “We’ll be in a small mom-and-pop bakery if we have a couple pieces that fit. People work 12 hours a day and will pick up something for their child on the way home.”
Counting 2,400 items in the M&D inventory--and its success marketing them--Oberly concludes: “We’re 31-years-old, and you’ve never seen a Melissa & Doug commercial!”
Melissa & Doug's "Classic Toys" at NY NOW