Western Toy & Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA) is inducting into its Hall of Fame this year: Kari and Ed Dodd of Classic Toys in Alaska; Melissa Moore from Toy Crazy in Southern California; and Donna Songer, Sales Rep for Wildthings. A Child’s Delight, located in Northern California, will be recognized as Retailer of the Year by WTHRA for customer service and community involvement. WTHRA will honor these recipients on March 8, 2020 at the Annual ToyFest West Awards Gala in Las Vegas.
Kari and Ed Dodd purchased Classic Toys in January of 1998 from the original owners, sisters Jo Michalski and Jana Hayenga, who opened the store in January of 1985. Previously, Ed was operating three Texaco gas stations and Kari was working at a bookstore next to Classic Toys. When a local commercial real-estate agent came into the gas station and told Ed Classic Toys was for sale, Kari and Ed believed it to be the right investment. They both agreed it would be a five-year trial basis. After the first five went well, the next five were the same and so on. Kari handles all the toy buying while Ed manages the logistics, warehouse, and payroll. They typically employ 10-12 staff members, having only had a grand total of 86 employees in 21 years. Over the years, Classic Toys has received many “Best Toy Store” awards.
Melissa Moore started in the toy industry working for the Toy Attic with owner Sharon Hill as a freshman in high school. Shortly after she began her career in toys, Hill sold the Toy Attic to Mike and Jeanne Nissen. She continued to work at the store for seven years, sometimes over summer break while attending college. She also worked at another toy store in Chico where she attended university. After graduating, Moore worked for a short time as a sales representative for the Toy Sellers Group. Hill had opened another Toy Attic after she sold her first one to the Nissens, and in 1998, Moore purchased that Toy Attic located in Malibu and changed the name to Toy Crazy. In 2005, Moore opened her second store in Santa Monica/Brentwood. In 2010 she opened her third location in Montecito, and in 2014 she ventured north into Marin County and opened her fourth location. Toy Crazy has been previously honored with ToyFest’s Retailer of the Month in 2018 as well as WTHRA’s Retailer of the Year award in 2011.
Donna Songer was hired by Ernie DiBenedetto to join Toy Sellers in 1986. Her territory was Northern CA, just south of San Francisco to Big Sur. In 1997 she went to work with Linn Porep Associates for a couple of years before starting Wildthings Sales & Marketing with Harry Clayton.
A Child’s Delight first opened its doors in 1994 at the Northgate Mall in San Rafael, California. Starting as a holiday pop up shop, the store expanded in the mall with a full-size store. The store later expanded to a location in Corte Madera, Ca. and is now owned and operated by Jonathan Meyer. The store has won many “Best Toy Store” awards in local publications and Hall of Fame in the Pacific Sun newspaper after winning Best Toy Store five years in a row. A Child’s Delight has also received WTHRA’s Retailer of the Month in January 2019.