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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Toys, Toys, Toys

The decision by the owners of Piccadilly's Toy Shoppe in Penfield to shut down after 12 years deals another blow to the proverbial "mom and pop" economy in our region and our country. Piccadilly's is one of the larger locally owned toy shops, a business that is rapidly migrating to major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart. Family-oriented shoppers who want to stay out of the malls or the big stores will now need to choose from stores such as Ridge Road Station in Holley, the Toy Soldier in Fairport and the new Hands On And Beyond in Pittsford Plaza. Ridge Road Station owner Peter Mills told our reporter, Mary Chao, that his store remains profitable and growing, but he has the advantage of size. Ridge Road Station is about 60,000 square feet and also has a regional following tied to special events tied to Christmas and various train displays. The trends seem daunting, however; Last month one of Piccadilly's co-owners told me that her store buys certain products at wholesale for the same price that Wal-Mart sells them at retail. That's quite a hill to overcome.

7 Comments:

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6:28 AM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger 1Bigcoach said...

The key here is not to dwell on the shops that are closing but the ones that are thriving. I wonder if the gang at the toy store joined the Penfield Chamber of Commerce or Penfield Business Association. What small businesses want to do is join together and get bigger - but many do not. Ben, keep looking for the good things that small business brings to upstate. What are the towns doing to help small businesses?

10:06 AM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger 1Bigcoach said...

hey the clock is still not fixed

10:07 AM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger Behind The Business Page said...

Hey Coach,

Thanks for reading. And I think I got the crazy clock deal fixed...found the setting to change! Once upon a time I was having a hard time figuring out my cell phone voice mail, so technology may not be my forte. (It's a joke, I do all right.)

Anyway, small businesses do have to band together and do have to find a niche and clearly some have -- witness Ridge Road Station. Last month I wrote about exactly what you describe taking place in Victor. In that example, a bridal shop had a near disaster -- a pipe burst -- and local merchants rallied to her side.

I don't know the particulars as it pertains to Piccadilly's -- whether they were in the chamber or not -- but even if they had I still think it would have been terribly hard for them to compete. Remember, both Toys-R-Us and FAO Schwarz have spent time in bankruptcy court.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not on the anti-Wal-Mart bandwagon. I am mostly just commenting on the social changes we are experiencing.

10:49 AM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger ccryder1 said...

Ben,

A hypothetical toy-manufacturing firm, whom normally handled orders of $500 to $5000 dollars, is making a comfortable living. Prospective client approaches with an order in the $100,000 to 1 million dollar range but wants a discount of 50% of the price charged the $5000 customer, would he bend to the request?

If it were I, the use of a manufacturing source in China or Malaysia would work well. Even after shipping there would be a huge profit and enable the large customer to receive said product for 50% less than charged to the smaller customer.

It is not a nice picture, but one seen more frequently. The garment industry, produce, wine, industrial goods, and yes, toys are just some examples.

2:20 PM, December 11, 2005  
Blogger Behind The Business Page said...

Crider--

Hey it's Ben. I gotta confess I'm not sure I follow the math. I find it hard to believe that a small store such as Piccadilly's would be dealing in single orders over $100,000. Perhaps you're suggesting that Piccadilly's could aggregate purchases with other similar stores to get economies of scale? I've no quibbles with the concept other than the fact that if you're an owner-proprietor, it would take an enormous amount of work to forge those relationships. That time is eaten up just getting the doors open each day. And even if you're successful, remember that Wal-Mart is a $300 billion juggernaut.

12:10 PM, December 12, 2005  
Blogger ccryder1 said...

Ben,

Sorry I should have checked the clarity of thought prior to posting.

The hypothetical toy-manufacturing firm would be the supplier to retailers such as “Piccadilly”, who would be placing $500 to $5000 dollar orders.

The $100,000 to $1 mil orders would be placed by a Wal-Mart.

My somewhat obtuse implication, retailers of the size of Piccadilly as well as larger retailers as large as Toys-are-us are destined to slide into oblivion unless they find a workable defense against the $300 billion juggernaut.

1:53 PM, December 13, 2005  

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