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LEGO Independent Retailer/Toy Dealer


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Hello,

 

I've been involved in various retail and service industries for over 30 years and was thinking about opening a brick and mortar toy store that involves LEGO in some way.  Before I contact the LEGO Toy Dealers program, I would like to know if any of you have had experience trying to open a non-LEGO(franchise) LEGO toy store or if you know of any successful independent toy stores that do well selling LEGO sets.  

 

Information on this topic is scarce, so any information could help.  Thank you.  

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Hello,

 

I've been involved in various retail and service industries for over 30 years and was thinking about opening a brick and mortar toy store that involves LEGO in some way.  Before I contact the LEGO Toy Dealers program, I would like to know if any of you have had experience trying to open a non-LEGO(franchise) LEGO toy store or if you know of any successful independent toy stores that do well selling LEGO sets.  

 

Information on this topic is scarce, so any information could help.  Thank you.  

I have not been in this business or any business in fact, but before my local area had a Lego store, there was a toy store in the mall that sold mostly Lego sets. Unfortunately, the prices were jacked up by at least 20%, and people still bought from the place. After about a year doing that, they went bankrupt because they did not use Lego Toy Dealer Program. After seeing this, I would use it to be more successful. 

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I think it's all about location and even then I would say if you planted in a retirement community where old people are frightened of computers and other assorted robots you might generate enough business.  While I think it is a nice idea to have a brick and mortar store I don't think any store could actually stay in business for long with all the options available for people to acquire Lego.

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I think it's all about location and even then I would say if you planted in a retirement community where old people are frightened of computers and other assorted robots you might generate enough business.  While I think it is a nice idea to have a brick and mortar store I don't think any store could actually stay in business for long with all the options available for people to acquire Lego.

Location is key. I have seen some toy store close because there was a Lego store nearby that drove them out of business. If there is not Lego store nearby, then it would be a good idea, but I would sell a variety of items so that you would not go out of business if one of them fails.

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If you're going to try to base it solely around LEGO, you're going to fail.

 

With the wide reach of Amazon, etc. now, it's very difficult for the "little guy" to compete anymore... you'll have to have jacked up prices because the wholesale prices aren't that great.

 

To your point, Amazon likely gets better pricing than the independent retailer program, as does TRU, Target and Walmart.

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The area for the store would be in a collection of higher end shops, where sale prices might not be required.  It's my belief that you cannot be a LEGO Independent Retailer without sharing the store with other major toy brands.  I'm just looking for anyone with prior experience that might have something to  share.

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I enjoy my "set my own schedule on a whim" lifestyle too much to do it, but I always figured a brick and mortar would make sense if you could get a bargain on the commercial storefront lease, or possibly purchase a building and use all/part of it, or if it would fit your particular family/lifestyle, buy a downtown-style older building with living quarters above (live above the shop).

 

If you price out warehouse/storage space and try to get commercial space for not much more than that, or have the capital to buy a building and let your tennants basically cover the costs while you keep a segment for your brick and mortar, it does become doable in some situations.

 

For Lego specifically, I have absolutely no first-hand knowledge but word on the street is that the mom-and-pop type shop you're talking about would not get the better discounts that the bigger retailers enjoy (that's typical), that Lego requires you purchase a certain minimum number of types of sets/lines (i.e, you may find yourself required to buy loser kits along with the winners), and that you have to be a "real" toy shop and carry other toy lines in addition to Lego.

 

If you do start the journey, or find out anything interesting along the way, do share - not my cup of tea, but always interested in the different ways we all deal Lego.

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There are a couple people floating around here who can probably give you some decent advice...I don't remember his name, but the Chowren Toys guy, for one. However, justafrog pretty much echoed what those guys have told us in the past - Lego doesn't seem to offer much incentive to locally owned business.

 

I once ventured into one of the more popular "independent" toy dealers here in Austin, and I found them selling a very generic looking knock-off brand, they didn't even have Mega Bloks. I asked the guy why he didn't carry Lego and he stated that he used to, but Lego in essence became "too big" as he put it and with all the commercial licenses they began to use and all the income it was generating for them, that they no longer needed to appease independent dealers. He then pointed to a huge display of Playmobil and proceeded to tell me how much nicer their company was.

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There are a couple people floating around here who can probably give you some decent advice...I don't remember his name, but the Chowren Toys guy, for one. However, justafrog pretty much echoed what those guys have told us in the past - Lego doesn't seem to offer much incentive to locally owned business.

 

I once ventured into one of the more popular "independent" toy dealers here in Austin, and I found them selling a very generic looking knock-off brand, they didn't even have Mega Bloks. I asked the guy why he didn't carry Lego and he stated that he used to, but Lego in essence became "too big" as he put it and with all the commercial licenses they began to use and all the income it was generating for them, that they no longer needed to appease independent dealers. He then pointed to a huge display of Playmobil and proceeded to tell me how much nicer their company was.

 

This is all the information you need to know.

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Guest eightbrick

I can't really add on much that hasn't been said but there is a store in Ontario (also on Bricklink) called Lasting Toys Inc. They are one of the biggest Bricklink set sellers out there and are pretty sucessful. They sell Lego and some other things like Lifelites (lego compatible lights) and Brick Forge items. Located in Mississauga, they have their brick and mortar store, and they sell retired and available items (at market prices, of course). Here's a pic of inside (basically as you can see a normal store with retired items):

storeshot.jpg

 

Website:http://www.lastingtoys.com/

Bricklink: http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=LastingToysInc
 

Overall, I'd say if you are aiming to start up a retail Lego store, this should be the sucess story you shoot for. Good luck force392!

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Guest brickcrazyhouse

I remember someone mentioning having to carry a high percent of all current sets to be a whole seller. I believe that option is no long available for them, but having a brick and mortar store may help.  Location can always be helped with those road side signs, especially in the beginning until word of mouth picks up.  A local comic book shop blanketed half of Maryland and has a huge impact

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There are advantages to opening a B&M storefront, even if the actual store isn't profitable. There are quite a few ppl that open tiny shops just to meet the minimum requirements to obtain wholesale contracts. They then stock the shelves very lightly and sell most of the merchandise online at market prices. The idea being that online sales will cover the costs of the B&M operation. Depending on which company you purchase the inventory from, this may or may not be frowned upon...i.e. Lego might not appreciate it, but Playmobil may turn a blind eye because they appreciate the increase in revenue.

 

 

With the amount of money that you'd need to spend on a wholesale purchase from Lego, and the broad selection of products you'd need to carry...you're better off taking your $ and investing it in discounted and rare/investment worthy sets until you have enough to stock your store shelves, similar to the store pictured above. This would obtain much better profit margins than the flat rate you'd be able to earn as an authorized retailer.

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I don't think it'd be successful, which is why if anything you'd have to sell other collectible toys to make it generate more business.

Oh course it isn`t successful. 5400 sales on Bricklink alone is pointless. Completely representational of failure. In fact, I expect them to liquidate their inventory soon at massive clearance prices. 

 

No seriously, I`m tempted to move to Ontario now and ask for a job. I`m sure my resume could land me something. That is heaven on earth! No doubt about it!  :drool:

 

There is a certain scene in a very special movie that applies to seeing little glimpses of heaven such as this. Encourage those reading to indulge just a bit 

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What are some other highly collectible toys? Barbie dolls are an obvious choice. What else?

Skylander Giants? There's a fair demand for those. Transformers are pretty popular products too, and I think they would have minimal competition with the LEGO's.

Please keep us updated on your progress, Force392!!

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Guest eightbrick

Oh course it isn`t successful. 5400 sales on Bricklink alone is pointless. Completely representational of failure. In fact, I expect them to liquidate their inventory soon at massive clearance prices. 

 

No seriously, I`m tempted to move to Ontario now and ask for a job. I`m sure my resume could land me something. That is heaven on earth! No doubt about it!  :drool:

 

There is a certain scene in a very special movie that applies to seeing little glimpses of heaven such as this. Encourage those reading to indulge just a bit 

They do actually have some job opportunities: http://www.lastingtoys.com/job-opportunities/ Birthday Party Host, anyone? :sorcerer:

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Guest ph4tb0i

Lasting Toys is awesome. Friendly staff and huge selection of discontinued Lego. Even if I don't buy I like going there from time to time just to see if anything will peak my interest. :) 

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