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Carlo Klemm

Struggling Toy Store “Santa’s Toys” Makes Marcus Lemonis’ Nice List

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Carlo Klemm

Struggling Toy Store “Santa’s Toys” Makes Marcus Lemonis’ Nice List

March 12,2019

by Jennifer Weyant - Business 2 Community

Excerpt: 

Santa Claus, Indiana is a special town that embraces the magic of Christmas all year round. One of their local retail attractions, Santa’s Toys, reached out to Marcus Lemonis for his assistance in growing their business. Their goal is to be able to create a refuge where kids can come and feel the magic of Christmas all year long. With the toy business undergoing some major changes in the past few years, Mark and Heidi Schmidt are in desperate need of some guidance so that they can remain competitive and continue to expand their business.

Marcus is surprised when he entered Santa’s toys. He expected to walk into a store that resembled Santa’s workshop, but instead found a retail space that was cramped, dark and uninviting. Throughout the store, 16 security cameras and accompanying signs reminded consumers that they were being watched. Instead of a fun environment where people can play and fall in love with toys, he felt there was a staunch surveillance feel in the storefront. The brand did not match the business.

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A busy day for Santa’s toys would net about $5-6K but there are days when they do not sell a single item. This is especially true in the summer months when people are not focused on Christmas shopping. Marcus asked if they have considered closing seasonally, but they feel they have an obligation to their customers to be there for the whole year to cover everything from birthdays to get well soon presents. Marcus suggests that they launch a proper website that can work for them 365 days a year. This will also help to supplement their family income through the slower months so they do not have to worry about their financial stability.

After reviewing their financials, Marcus was impressed that they learned how to run a business in two years that is financially healthy and does not have significant debt. He decides to make them an offer to invest $75,000 in their company with a stipulation that half of the money will go into the store and the other half of the money will go into the website. In exchange for his investment, he wants 50% of online sales. He wants them to keep 100% ownership of the physical store. He feels that the store will help to build their brand and will ultimately drive web traffic as well. His expectation is that they will stock inventory and ship it out in branded, Santa Claus packaging. He wants the brand to exemplify joy, family, and Christmas. They agree to the terms and agree to enter into a business agreement with Marcus Lemonis.

In beginning their store-front makeover, their first step was to remove the slow-moving product and liquidate it. Marcus decided to purchase all of these items to donate to charity. This also allowed that portion of the money to flow directly back into the business. They also decided to redesign the space by putting in new lighting, floors, signage, and fixtures. This updated and opened the floorplan allowing them to stock double the amount of product while increasing the physical organization and flow for the customer. They also decided to turn some of their wasted storeroom space into Santa’s workshop to add to the appeal of the business.


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Mervyn The Hired Hand

Sounds like a good makeover is underway. Maybe they can escape an ending like ToysRUS? Let's hope so. Toy stores are getting scarce these days.

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Black River Santa

I love a good toy store!  Sadly, there are so few left. I make an appearance every year at one of my local favorites in support of small businesses in the community.

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