A Community Toy Store With A Modern Twist

Holly_colorBy Frank Sinatra, AAP Editor

Run by Merchantville residents Ato and Katherine Swann, Duck Duck Goose first opened in the Borough on June of 2012, moved to a retail space in Collingswood in April 2013, then relocated back to Merchantville earlier this year at 2 East Maple Ave., when the perfect retail space became available just a stone’s throw from their home.

“All the stars aligned,” says Katherine, who also sits on Merchantville’s Borough Council. “It was perfect timing.”

Katherine and Ato Swann, owners of Duck Duck Goose in Merchantville, sell unique toys and items not found in “Big Box” stores.

Katherine and Ato Swann, owners of Duck Duck Goose in Merchantville, sell unique toys and items not found in “Big Box” stores.

Duck Duck Goose is a modern take on the old community toy store model, focusing on items that engage and spark imagination. The store also specializes in products made from sustainable materials by responsible manufacturers.

“We sell unique toys and items that you won’t find in larger box stores,” explains Ato. “We look for toys that foster creativity and open-ended play. We also have 20 different local artists and makers that we consign with. Much of the clothes and furniture you’ll find here comes from local talent.”

One such consigner is the couple’s nine-year-old daughter, Olivia. Through her business, LIV EE LIV, Olivia sells “jewelry and hairbands that kids love.” There’s also Liza Pants, offering children’s room décor and furniture.

Duck Duck Goose also goes to great lengths to find a good balance between higher quality and lower prices.

“We make an effort to make sure that the things that we choose are affordable for what they are,” says Katherine. She went on to mention that the store also offers a “RePlay” section, reselling LEGO and other toys at discounted rates. “Every good toy deserves a ‘RePlay.’” Customers can also scoop loose LEGO bricks out of a gigantic bin for just $10 a pound.

For all those whose family and friends ask what they can get the kids for Christmas, Duck Duck Goose offers an online registry service. Simply visit DuckDuckGooseToys.com and click on “Registry” link under the “Welcome” tab.

“We create a special store on our web site that has a link,” explains Katherine. “You can share that link with someone and they can see exactly what your kid’s wish list is.”

Also, just in time for the holidays, Duck Duck Goose will have a mailbox for children to “send” their letters to Santa; and “Santa’s helpers” can pick them up later to see what the kids asked the man with all the toys.

For more info, visit DuckDuckGooseToys.com or visit their Facebook page.

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