A toy store in Toronto was once a place for children to find toys and a place to play.
But it has become a $15 billion-a-year business.
It has also transformed the lives of its staff.
The toy store has become the centre of a multimillions-dollar international business, selling toys to millions of families.
“We’ve been here for nearly a decade and we’re really proud to have grown so much in that time,” says Jason Taylor, co-owner of the popular Toronto Toy Market, which has grown to become one of the largest toy stores in the world.
“You can see the change in our culture, our people and our attitude to people.”
For the past 15 years, Taylor and his partner, Rob, have been selling their store to an unnamed partner.
The partnership, which is based in the UK, allows them to continue to sell their products to the world, including Canada.
“The idea of being able to sell to the rest of the world and doing business with the rest to the United Kingdom and to Canada has really opened up our business and really changed the way we look at our customers,” says Taylor.
The store is a key element of the brand that has long been a magnet for Canadian children, as well as for international companies like Disney and Lego.
It was originally started in 1999 as a children’s toy store, and now has grown into a multi-billion-dollar toy business.
“This is something that has been in our family for generations and it’s a unique opportunity,” says Rob Taylor.
“We’re very fortunate that we can help children in so many ways.”
Toy stores are an essential part of many families’ lives, but many don’t want to think about the large amounts of money that goes into selling toys.
The Canadian toy industry is one of only two in the country that make their money through their merchandise.
“Our store has been the most profitable for us in the last 10 years,” says Sarah Mancuso, the CEO of Toys Canada, which runs the toy market.
“It’s a great place to be and it brings a lot of cash into the local economy.”
Mancusos said that in the past decade, the average Canadian toy store owner has seen his or her turnover increase by 25 per cent.
Toys are a big part of the culture in many communities, and toy stores are often an important part of that culture.
“It’s kind of an old fashioned retail space,” she said.
“In the past, there’s been this very traditional way of shopping.
People would come in and buy something and leave.
Today, there are more mobile stores that have mobile people coming in and buying things.”
Taylor said his store has helped build a new generation of toy store owners, many of whom are now looking to the toy industry to start their own businesses.
“I think the toy business has always been there for children and families and they want to be able to find great toys,” says Brandon Tipton, owner of the Toys Canadian franchise, which was started in 2007.
“Our retail has always done that and we just wanted to be in that space and to be a part of it.
We really want to grow and create jobs here in Toronto.”
In a way, the toy store and the toy stores of other parts of the country are synonymous, says Taylor, who said the stores are both part of a larger Canadian toy culture.
“The toy store is like a neighbourhood, a community and an entertainment venue, and it is a place where kids can go to get their toys,” he said.
The story of how Toys Canada became a toy company started when Jason Taylor was looking for a toy to make toys for his children.
He found a local toy store called Toys R Us and he wanted to sell toys.
But Toys R Unions owner and founder Paul Sorensen says he had little experience with the toy company.
“When I went to Toys R Canada, we saw this very big toy store that had a huge number of toys and we wanted to try to take the toys and sell them,” said Sorenensen.
Sorensensen says Toys R United was the perfect fit for Taylor, because the toy chain was a little smaller, and he could work on his own toy business, rather than selling to Toys Canada.
“They knew that we were serious about bringing toys to Toronto and they knew we were going to bring toys to our customers here,” said Taylor.
Toys R United sold toys to Toys Stores Canada, Toys R Toys Canada and Toys R Toy Canada.
But Toys R Shop Canada, the company that sells the toys, was an independent company, operating from Canada.
Taylor was hired as the new owner of Toys R Store Canada.
As the toy giant grew, Taylor’s passion for toys started to develop, he said, and the stores grew to a point where he couldn’t sell his