The Toy Chest – Preserving the Essence of Play for the Holidays

The local independently owned neighborhood toy store is quickly becoming a thing of the past; like small bookstores and video rental shops they are disappearing quickly with the advent of Walmart and Amazon on the rise. Still, there are shimmers of hope for the future and for Imy Marcus it’s just been business as usual for the past twenty-six years at the Toy Chest, where for seven days a week he has been animated in sharing his passion for toys. Marcus exhibits a reverence for the imaginations of children, priding himself on the fact that they do not carry very many battery operated or electronic toys. “You see most parents buy the toys that they think their children want but they’re actually buying the ones they want,” says Marcus. The advertising and promotion of new wave electronic items has in fact stolen some of the flair that the classic toys have. “Kids don’t need all of that stuff to enjoy themselves they just need their imaginations,” reaffirms Marcus.

“Every year I hear people talking about how I’m going to get my Christmas shopping done early this year but it never fails that we have some last minute shoppers coming in to pick out that perfect item for their child,” says Marcus. Marcus knows that there are people who live in Hot Springs that have, of course, never even heard of or stepped foot into his toy shop, and because they either go to Walmart or another major commercial outlet store he understands that it’s not their fault; it’s just how they have been conditioned. In a world of convenience and fast paced shopping Marcus has preserved the essence of play in his little shop of well crafted toys made by smaller independently owned companies that pride themselves on their quality.

The Toy Chest has an unbelievable amount of items to choose from whether it’s a classic children’s book, train set, or board game they carry toys for various ages from toddler and up. Dolls, dollhouses, stuffed animals, toy soldiers, figurines, dinosaurs, golf sets, pogo sticks, dump trucks, and a wide assor tment of classic toys as well as educational gifts perfect for young growing minds. With several thousand items to choose from there’s not a single item in the store that does not encourage a child to play.

Imy and his wife Harriet both moved to Hot Springs from Shreveport originally to retire but soon decided that they wanted to open up a toy shop and with the help of some friends who had one back home they soon made it a reality. “Everything is brand new to a child, in some cases a kid will play with a cardboard box before he plays with an expensive toy,” laughs Marcus.

The Toy Chest offers many unique toys that you won’t find just anywhere. Shipping items daily they also offer layaway year round to fulfill everyone’s shopping needs. Truly a perfect place to shop for good often-handmade toys that encourage hand eye coordination, imagination and more the Toy Chest is a local must stop shop for this holiday season.

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Jim Miller

Jim Miller

Jim Miller knows Hot Springs. While starting his career with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, he then went on to help with the creation of Hot Spring Hot Spots Magazine and served as Editor for two years before moving on to be the Director of Marketing at the Mid America Science Museum after its grand reopening in February 2015. Jim remains a constant inquisitor and highly active member of the Hot Springs social, economic and political scene. If one needs to find out any information about this fair city, one only has to ask Jim.

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