Locally owned stores stock a different kind of toy

Old-fashioned items popular at independent shops

— Linda Ambrosino, owner of G. Willikers Distinctive Toys on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, said her store’s toys also have replay value.

“We are a specialty store and we kind of do what we consider the old classics and the new classics, the stuff I think is going to be around for a long time,” said Ambrosino. “Stuff we feel is not only going to be played with on Christmas morning, but in April and May.”

This shopping season, G. Willikers is selling a lot of games, a popular one being “Spot It!” which is a matching game with a twist. The pictures on the two cards are different sizes.

“Sometimes the younger kids are a little bit better than the older ones,” Ambrosino said.

She said G. Willikers allows people to get back to “the basics” with toys and entertainment.

“I think that technology is important and valuable, but I think sometimes sitting across the table and being face to face with somebody brings a whole other level into the whole family,” she said.

Spot It! is also a hot selling item at Ta-Da in Stuyvesant Plaza, said Store Manager Michael Richman. Unlike some other specialty toy stores, Ta-Da focuses on kids 6 years old and up.

“We are really a novelty store because we carry things for all ages right on through the adult to the grown up,” said Richman. “The things we try to seek out are different and unusual items you are not going to see anywhere.”

Another popular game Ta-Da sells is called “Jishaku,” which is Japanese for magnet.The game is geared towards players 12 years old and up and it uses polished hematite magnets for playing pieces.

The common variation on the game has two players trying to get rid of all their magnets first, but when placing a magnet on the board you don’t want any others to attract and connect. The north and south poles aren’t marked on the pieces.

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