CONWAY — The Toy Chest, at 2703 White Mountain Highway in North Conway, was named Family Favorite Children’s Toy Store in Parenting New Hampshire’s seventh annual readers poll.
Daren Levitt, owner of the Toy Chest, said: “Being named the Family Favorite Toy Store in New Hampshire is truly an honor and surprise. Thank you to all the readers of Parenting New Hampshire Magazine who voted for us.
“This award means a lot to me because this decision was made by customers who felt we were their favorite,” he said. “That’s the best kind of award there is.”
Melanie Hitchcock, editor of Parenting New Hampshire, added that “the Family Favorites award program recognizes those people, places and things that make New Hampshire a great place to raise a family.
“The Family Favorites contest gives parents an opportunity to share information and advice on who and what is the best with a much wider public audience.”
Levitt said the designation “tells my staff and me that we are doing something right. We work hard to make Toy Chest a fun and unique shopping experience. Classic toys are offered here that are unusual and often hard to find, along with toys that are engaging, thoughtful and, most importantly, fun!”
Parents accompanying their kids often recognize favorites from their own childhood, he said.
Levitt said the Toy Chest makes a priority out of customer service. “Any toy purchased can be gift wrapped free of charge, and the Toy Chest has a no worries, no receipt return policy.”
Plus, “if the Toy Chest doesn’t have an item, and we think it’s available locally, we will do our best to find it for you.”
The success of the Toy Chest is also due to its extremely knowledgeable staff. Take Jane Stevenson. On Saturdays, when locals come in to shop for a birthday gift, she will inform the customer if the birthday girl or boy already got the same gift from here. Levitt calls it “BPN — Birthday Party Knowledge.”
Charlene Ingram and Kay Bryant, both grandmothers, often recommend toys they have gotten for their grandkids. Bryant has been at the store for almost 20 years. Her previous career was a nurse for Hasbro Toy Co. in Rhode Island.
Kristin Groves, an elementary schoolteacher and mother of two young kids, brings a contemporary perspective to children’s toy preferences.
Levitt said, “I love living and operating a business in Mount Washington Valley.
“What impresses me most about the valley is the volunteer supported organizations: ESSC, Jens Friends, Believe in Books, and Angels and Elves. Anybody that purchases an item to be donated to Angels and Elves, Toys for Tots, or a similar charity receives a 15 percent discount.
“It’s a joy to live and work in this tight-knit community.”
The complete results of the 2017 Family Favorite Reader’s Poll can be found in the current issue of Parenting New Hampshire.