Jonathan Gartner, store manager of Toyology Toys in Rochester, tells SEEN what it’s like to work in the toy business and why Toyology is the go-to store for STEM-based toys. Check out the shop on the SEEN Marketplace.
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Leah Dale
1. When and what inspired you to get into the toy business? I got into the toy business back in 2016. I’ve worked retail since I was 16, and I’m truly a big kid at heart. So when there was an opening for a management spot at a toy store, it was like a dream come true!
2. What does a typical day look like for you? Once I get into the store and open the doors it’s all about the customers. And in between them we get our orders coming in from the back door. So we’re constantly putting out new products and learning about them so we can easily engage with our customers about them, especially with it being this time of the year.
3. What do you love most about your role managing the store? I love being able to comfortably and confidently work with customers and my team members. Also being able to work so close with the owners is an amazing opportunity. How many CEO phone numbers do you have on speed dial in your phone? (laughs)
4. What is the mission of your store and how do you want customers to feel when they enter your space? Toyology’s mission is always evolving, but at the core of it, it is and always will be about helping kids (and adults) understand there is so much more than video games and tablets. We pride ourselves on having such a variety of hands-on, STEM-based toys. We could potentially be helping develop the next astronaut or electrical engineer all by showing them the toys that we have.
5. What are your current favorite items in the store? Please list a few and provide the links or we can upload for you
SHOP: Boom Brick Speaker, $30.
SHOP: Stax Magnetic Building Blocks, $30.
SHOP: The Game of Space, $24.99.
SHOP: Stressed By Design- designer stress balls, $8.99.
6. Tell us what makes the in-store experience very special? The wrapping paper! Our customers love that we do free gift wrapping. But, in all seriousness, it’s the vibe and energy you feel when you walk in. You’ll be greeted by a team member, we’ll walk you around showing you products that fit what you’re looking for, and did I mention we have free gift wrapping?
7. Are there any new products or lines you will soon carry that really excite you? Always! We’re constantly working on our own private label (On Trend Goods) and looking to bring out the next “must-have toy,” but we have many new things. Some items that excite us are Da Bomb bath bombs created by two sisters. And Craft-tastic crafts which is a local product from Bloomfield Hills!
8. Favorite quote or words to live by? “It’s their (kids) world, we’re just living in it!”
Shop our favorite Toyology Toys items on the SEEN Marketplace:
Follow @toyologytoys on Instagram and other social media accounts for in-store events and new products!
6389 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield
208 N. Adams Road, Rochester Hills
119 South Main St., Royal Oak
6558 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills