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Toy store opens in Marietta

Niki Alvarez of Williamstown prices toys at Andy’s Toy Chest, 206 Putnam St., Marietta. The store had its grand opening on Friday. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

MARIETTA — Williamstown resident Andy Alvarez is a self-proclaimed nerd. So, when a part of 206 Putnam St., Marietta, became open, he decided to take his love of buying and selling online into a brick and mortar location.

He and his wife, Niki, have been busy getting their new store, Andy’s Toy Chest, ready for last Friday’s opening.

“(The storefront) fell into my lap,” he explained on Wednesday. “We like the location. There was a former toy store here and he used to do consignments.”

Andy had sold toys and collectibles through the consignment shop, so when the shop owner went back into the military, Andy took over the location.

“Most of this stuff I’ve had already personally,” he explained. “It started off that I was trying to downsize and I sold everything I had. Then I got hooked and kept buying more stuff and getting rid of it.”

Niki said Andy could have worse habits than buying and selling goods online.

“He enjoys it and it makes him happy,” she said.

The store is kid-friendly, geared toward smaller children, and with a play area for the little ones.

Shoppers can pick up big plush animals, coloring books and pens, play-doh or sculpting sand, among other toys.

“It’s nice to be able to touch things when you buy them. It’s not Walmart or Amazon,” Niki said.

While they are stocking shelves and pricing goods, they still have missing shipments to add to their stock.

“We’ve ordered so much more stuff,” Niki said, and Andy said they’ve only gotten half their order because of the slowdown of shipments due to the coronavirus.

“We ordered a bunch of Barbies,” she said.

The couple said they want a place where children feel welcome.

“We want a place where kids can come and be kids and touch the toys,” Andy said.

Store hours: closed Mondays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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