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6/15/2003

Mrs. Toad’s hopping one door to the north

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Mrs. Toad’s Toys is losing its space. But that’s just fine with owner Julie Litt.

The expansion of Paper Warehouse into Mrs. Toad’s current space will lead to the toy store moving one spot over to the northwest corner of the building at 900 S. Hover Road. Instead of Mrs. Toad’s current 2,600 square feet, it will occupy 3,600, with another 600 square feet of basement space available for storage.

“I think people will really notice how open and large the space is because we have to work around the support structures” in the current space, said Litt. “Our manager and I went to the New York toy fair this year and we had to keep in the back of our minds how much space we had.”

The expansion will bring not only more elbow room for her customers and employees, but Litt said she plans to add a room for children’s parties.

“It just seems like there’s not as many places to have parties for kids, so we’d like to have something that we can offer to the Longmont community,” she said. “I know this, having kids myself.”

Litt said the move to the new space, which will be two-thirds of the space formerly occupied by a liquor store, is expected to take place Aug. 1. Renovation of the new space has already begun.

Litt purchased Mrs. Toad’s three years ago, when it was in its former location on North Main Street. She feels having her store next to Paper Warehouse is “very complimentary” for both businesses.

Like Paper Warehouse, Litt’s business has to compete with stores that are much bigger in size. The world’s biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, is just around the corner in the Twin Peaks Square shopping center.

But like Paper Warehouse, Litt said she has found a niche that allows Mrs. Toad’s to stand toe-to-toe with the big boys.

“Quite a few of us do the purchasing, and the advantage of that is we have a variety of perspectives,” said Litt. “And we do try to stock things from a parent’s point of view.

“I think people appreciate a lot of the service we provide, and I think we try to bring in a lot of unique things ... We try to focus on educational things.”

Stocking items for ages newborn to “tween,” Litt said one of the things she hopes to do with her children’s parties is to bring in some of her background, which is making science educational and fun for kids. Scout groups will also be using the party room, she said.

“Our staff is very excited about the move, and I’m very excited about it,” she said. “Just the chance to be able to push a stroller through the store again. ”

Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.