TARRYTOWN, N.Y. - Angel Rafter loves Tarrytown and toys, so the owner of A Nu Toy Store on Main Street is enjoying the best of both worlds as she celebrates five years in business this holiday season.
Rafter, a Tarrytown resident with a fondness for toys and the smiles they bring, opened A Nu (New and Used) in November of 2008 because, she said, it was the perfect opportunity for a Tarrytown mom with a vision for a local business
"Baby Bee's was closing and I loved the spot," Rafter said of the big "play space" at 19 Main St. "I just loved that location. Tarrytown needed three things; a book store, shoe store or a toy store. I don't know anything about shoes and there is too much competition out there for books, so that left toys. I had two young boys (Logan, 7 and Jack, 3). I wanted to bring them to work, have them walk to the store after school, so toys made sense - plus toys are fun."
Rafter's motivation and hard work, a great space that is a kid's fantasy playroom, and a mom's business sense, have made A Nu Toy Store work.
"There were a few people that did not think it was going to work," Rafter said. "I have competitive prices without the competitive edge that the big stores have, I don't get lower cost from the distributors, it comes out of my profits. I wanted to be the go-to place for toys. We offer free gift wrapping, we are small enough to give you that personal service and we know our customers because we live in the community. But the reason we have made it for five years is because of the loyalty of the local families."
Local support from residents and an infusion of visiting shoppers to an active Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow business community have all helped sell toys.
"Many tourists come up every weekend and discover our wonderful town and all the great shops and restaurants," Rafter said. "But it the locals who come back for every birthday, every trip to the dentist, every good report card treat, that keep me going. Both financially and mentally. I love this town and the community as been so supportive."
And Rafter loves the toys and the kids of all ages who love them too. She finds her new toys at Green Toys, Lego and Melissa and Doug, and her "used" treasures at church sales and tag sales, where she finds many toys that have never been opened.
"You find toys that retail for three times the price I am selling it for and that is because if I get it at a good deal, so will you," she said.
And for Tarrytown, Rafter's vision of a hometown toy store that serves local families and visiting shoppers is a five-year success story.
For information on A Nu Toy Store, call 914-372-7144 or log on to the store's website.