Canberra-based independent toy store The Good Toy Shop has announced that it will permanently close on 14 February. 

Announcing the decision on its Facebook page, the store said despite its love for customers and products various factors including digital disruption and rising costs were to blame for the decision to close. 

However, it wasn't without trying that the store came to this decision, with owner Lana Mitchell telling Toy & Hobby Retailer that the business was growing and had multiple revenue streams. 

"[When] we bought this store, I estimated out that it’s probably two to three years before we can be covering everything and I thought that I had everything covered.

"Then I just kept being taken by surprise by increasing costs of various kinds and finding that cash flow just became a constant problem.

"But our business kept growing. We’ve had increasing revenue, we’ve had increasing customers - more than 5000 customers came through our door in the last year - and we’ve become NDIS registered and are the only Canberra region toy supplier that is NDIS registered," she said. 

"I explored all options, I explored every option I could think of," Mitchell continues. 

"I explored relocating the store; I explored closing the bricks-and-mortar and going to just an online store which doesn’t really jive with what our customers really want; I bought a van and we started going out and going to school fete’s and carnivals. 

"We’ve been supplying preschools and day cares with stock; we’ve been supplying schools with supplies of all sorts of different types of things; and, we even started providing a gift service to retirement homes where we’d show up at Christmas and we’d bring a mobile store to them because they have limited mobility and limited access and they were thrilled," she said. 

However despite these revenue streams, the difficulty of operating a small business in the current retail climate forced the hand of the store Mitchell said. 

"What I’m frustrated with is that because retail as an industry is changing, because there’s big players, new players, new platforms, new ways and the consumer habits also are changing, when you look at that you can’t just say, ‘well I’ll just have the bricks-and-mortar store and it will work,’ it’s not that way anymore.

"You have to think outside the box. And I think we were in the right direction and we were going in that way but then when you’re not supported by banking you go, ‘well how does this work? How are we supposed to do it?’

"When you look at the legal requirements of regulation of what you must do, whether it’s payroll or insurances or workers compensation and all these various things that go into it and then you look at cash flow, there’s no real support for the small business. You’re in a squeeze.

"It’s like holding your breath and seeing how long you can hold it for. It’ll change [though], things swing and move and it will change but as a small business you have to be able to hold your breath for so long and I just ran out of breath," she said. 

However, Mitchell hopes that despite having to make the heartbreaking decision to close, another retailer will be able to become NDIS registered and provide that service to the community. 

"I’m hoping that some others within the Canberra region become NDIS registered.

"I’m really concerned because there is a real market there in the disability sector for those with Autism and other physical disabilities, there’s nobody that’s registered for that other than us. 

"So maybe with us departing, maybe somebody else will say, ‘great we’ll seize that moment and we’ll help out,’" she said. 

The Good Toy Shop is currently holding its closing down sale with all products, stock and fittings to be sold. 

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