Lisa Brothers went to the Chicago Toy Fair in 1985 as a seller and came home a buyer.
"I was just so excited about the toys I saw there," said Brothers. "I thought: `This is crazy. Provo doesn't have this.' I had a little money, so I started buying toys right there."She was wearing a "seller's" badge because she went to the fair to help her father and brother market a line of toys. She had to go get a buyer's badge.
When she returned to Provo, she asked her father for a little space next to his medical office in Cotton Tree Square. The Toy Stop is now greatly expanded at the same location, 2230 N. University Parkway in Provo.
This is the sixth Christmas season for the store, which specializes in unusual and different toys. "If you asked what I sell, a lot of people would say educational toys and others would say imports," Brothers said.
The lines of toys that attracted Brothers at the toy fair in 1985 are still favorites. Gotz dolls, made in Germany, impressed her because of the quality and durability as well as the "innocence." Gotz dolls are soft-bodied child and baby dolls with porcelain-look heads and limbs.
Brothers said she kept passing by the booth with Gotz dolls because she thought they were porcelain. "I wanted dolls that can be played with."
Finally, Brothers stopped at the booth to say she wanted dolls like theirs, but not porcelain. "When they said they weren't porcelain, I was sold."
Brio trains, Ravensburger puzzles and games and Gund stuffed animal toys were all selected for the new toy store. "The toys weren't violent and they weren't commercial. They reminded me of toys that belong in Santa's workshop. Brio trains could have been made by elves," Brothers said.
Brothers was attracted to Ravensburger puzzles and games because of the beautiful illustrations and the quality. "The games are so playable that adults enjoy playing them with their children." Ravensburger is also a German company.
Gund animals are from an American company, as are the Muffy bears from the VanderBear Collection. Brothers said she added Muffy bears because children enjoy the outfits that can be purchased for the small toy bears.
The Toy Stop now has a wide selection of Playmobile play sets. The small poseable action figures have detachable accessories. Sets include castles, doll houses, an Indian village, a Western town, ships and boats, as well as hospital and rescue sets.
Children are allowed to touch in the store, Brothers said, "Because the toys are so durable, very little is broken."