Every year at this time, out they come. Promotions from our competitors for "Christmas in July" sales. They tend to be 20% off store-wide, sometimes a special 30% off a single item discounts.
We can't fault anyone for running a summer sale. It's great for cash flow at a time when it may be a little quiet in a toy store. Sales events can also help get rid of old inventory that hasn't been flying off of shelves. In theory, anyway. But it seems to us that running a storewide sale means it's likely the popular items you've been selling like hotcakes will continue to sell like hotcakes - just for less money. And the lackluster items that weren't selling before won't be selling now, even at a discount.
Which is why stores that run July store-wide sales don't tend to introduce new toys in July. It's another chance for your kids to get the same toys they didn't get last December. (They're going to be so excited.)
We don't run Christmas in July sales. Because we're not waist deep in inventory that didn't sell. In fact, we've spent the past three weeks adding MORE toys to our shelves. And it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in here.
So with that said... today, July 1st, we introduce a new toy that you won't find in any other store in Tennessee. (Or for all we know, Alabama or Georgia.) And you won't find it on Amazon, either.
It's a remote control vehicle. But the remote is your smartphone or tablet. And you can actually program the vehicle to move in a pattern you choose. (If you're a parent with a child who is interested in programming - think Scratch meets R/C.) And because the car is powered by an app, the company releases new versions of its software that adds new abilities to your child's toy - without it costing you another dime.
Did we mention you can add Lego, MegaBlox or Brictek pieces to it? Or that it's been a hit at Maker Fairs in the midwest? This thing epitomizes what it means to be a STEM toy.
Now, these bots are not cheap. $60 a pop. Which means we know we're going to hear this in our store for the next four months, "That would be a GREAT Christmas gift, we'll need to remember it."
Only it's not. It's a great gift right now.
In the summer.
When kids are out playing with other kids, having play-dates, enjoying childhood.
At a time when kids are most open to learning, experimenting with science, technology, engineering and math. Figuring things out together with friends. Or alone in their playroom. All the while gaining knowledge and shaping their interests. Without once hearing the phrase Common Core.
Just good ol' fashioned summer play.
It's Christmas in July, alright. We've awakened Santa out of slumber. Not to discount old toys. (That only makes him angry.) But to bring you brand new ones. Because when it comes to playing with awesome toys, summer is the most wonderful time of the year.
Oh, and sorry about the lack of sales. We'd sure it's a blast having a Christmas in July sales event. We just don't have enough toys leftover from Christmas.
Patrick Holland, born in a Cabbage Patch and raised inside the Honeycomb Hideout, is a former Oompa Loompa. He is now co-owner of Mountain Top Toys (with his not-so-silent partner and wife, Joanna), and parent to two daughters, both of whom are beginning to realize their father is just plain nuts. .