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Try it Before You Buy It: Neighborhood Toy Store Creates Game Exchange
by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association   |   October 6   |   0 Comments
Ever wish you could try a game out before you decide to purchase it? Of course, every parent has been there. It looks great in the box, the store associate has told you all of the wonderful learning benefits to playing the game -- plus assured you how much fun it is. But there is this nagging voice wondering "but will my child love it?"

That's exactly what The Wooden Horse Toy Store in Los Gatos, CA heard from their customers.

“We would train staff on the games and it was effective to a point but a lot of people wanted a demo to see how kids would like it or if they could play it with family members and see how their family liked it,” said Kevin Mukai, owner of The Wooden Horse Toy Store.

So they did something about it... and the game exchange was born.

The exchange works just like a library. Customers borrow a game for a small deposit and get to keep the game for a week. The game then gets returned and customers fill out a small survey about how they liked the game. They can then choose to purchase that game or borrow a new one to try. Available games are all parlor and board games and most of them are specialty games that customers normally wouldn't have access to without purchasing.

The best part? They have a game for everyone. Currently, there are 70-75 games available for borrowing through the exchange and they are always adding more.

“All sorts of games over broken up by age group-- three years old through adult. Some are really cooperative games-- these are going to be games you can typically access through a specialty market," said Kevin.

The response to the exchange has been overwhelming positive, says Kevin. “It’s just been kicked off this year and we already get a lot of regulars coming back!"

"We like to think of it as a community resource."

The Wooden Horse Toy Store even accepts games that customers don't need any more into the exchange (hello, up cycling!). They welcome all games as long as they are in good condition and have all the parts. Staff are trained to help a potential customer or borrower understand how to play the game and can even provide a demo to a potential exchange borrower. Every time they add a new game to the exchange, they update their community through Facebook so customers know what's available.

Mostly though, it’s all about letting families try -- and fall in love with -- new games!

The Wooden Horse Toy Store is located in Los Gatos, California. Check out their website or like them on Facebook.


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