Tree House appeals to toy lovers of all ages
September 20, 2005
Lindy Kramer may not have children herself, but she could be having as much fun buying for her Heavenly Village shop as the customers do from it.
The owner of The Tree House opened the children’s store over a year ago and hasn’t looked back since. She figured the first year raked in at least 20 percent more than originally anticipated.
The first year is always the toughest for retailers, but Kramer’s a pro. For 25 years, she’s kept her Truckee store going strong. There’s a loyal local following along with the visitors.
At the South Lake Tahoe store, Kramer estimated the ratio of tourist to local as 80 to 20 percent. People stroll over from the hotels to buy gifts as well as toys and games to occupy their youngsters on the airplane.
“I try to buy a lot of activity-related toys,” she said. “This is the greatest babysitter,” she added, pointed to a sprawling hobby car track that sits a foot off the floor.
One could spend hours in the store, perusing the assortment of clothing including children’s gloves, cards, stuffed animals, mini kitchen sets, puzzles and dolls. An Etch-a-Sketch sitting on a shelf proves the classics are still alive. For animal lovers, there’s even a Breyers model horse collection and dog agility set.
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The retailer said educational toys are still very much in demand, too.
Kramer said it takes research to learn what to buy and what’s being carried at other stores. She has a Tahoe puzzle out on display but also knows Tahoe Country has a larger selection of Tahoe-oriented merchandise just around the corner.
Gifts at The Tree House range from $13 clothing coordinates to $100 coats. She wants the community to know a customer won’t break the piggy bank while shopping there.
“We’re not Kmart and don’t pretend to be,” she said.
Even the customers may behave immaturely. A sign posted above a stuffed panda bear reads: “Please do not sit on the animals.”