Why Essex? Turner Toys

Interview with Peter Sloan, Owner

Peter Sloan and his wife Elizabeth Skinner have been in the toy business since 2011, but it is likely that the average local parent has not heard of Turner Toys until fairly recently.  Before moving to the Essex Outlets, Turner Toys was an almost exclusively specialty online store housed in a series of locations throughout Essex.  In 2015, Turner Toys moved to the outlets to see how having a temporary physical location for the holiday season would work out.

Three years later, the temporary location has become permanent, and the business has almost doubled in square footage. Turner Toys has also added on a niche market: Magic the Gathering.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Magic the Gathering is a card role-playing game that has an enormous following, especially with teenage young men.  Peter offers at least three opportunities per week to play Magic in the store, making it something of a community center for players.  Peter noted that some customers come in at the same time each week to buy a new pack of cards, so much so that you can “set a watch by them.”

With the closure of Toys R Us and other high-profile “big box” stores, Peter and I inevitably started talking about what makes Turner unique.  Peter said that a large number of parents come in on their way to a birthday party-one of the reasons that they now stock cards and have a gift wrapping station.  He also said that when a parent wants to reward a child’s good behavior with a toy, they certainly don’t want to have to wait two days for the item to be shipped.

Peter said that the customer service is critical to the store’s success.  Employees are encouraged to learn the names of repeat customers, help carry large items out to cars, and remove the tags from stuffed animals so that children can start snuggling immediately.  As one Facebook review stated: “They bend over backwards to get you what you want.”

Why Essex? “We knew that there were a lot of families with kids here.  We have lived in Essex and Essex Junction for the past fifteen years and enjoy being part of the community” -Peter Sloan

Why Essex? is a weekly(ish) column highlighting the people and places that make Essex an interesting and special place. Have an idea for the column? E-mail Darby Mayville at darby@essexjunction.org.

Photo Credits: Darby Mayville