TWIN CITIES, MINNESOTA -- In High School, I worked at a toy store called Creative Kidstuff. It was an amazing place to work. It was a small mom and pop place that carried fun and educational toys, games, books, costumes etc. During the time I worked there, they had free gift wrapping.
Every Saturday from 10am-2pm (except for Christmas rush time), they would have one employee Demo a new project for free. Kids could come in with their parents, and even if the parents didn't buy anything, the child could come out with a free art project, learn a new board game, see a story book character, or have been taught how to make balloon animals.
I liked that while I worked there the owner did a "Gun Buy Back" where children could bring in any of their toy guns and they would get a $2.00 gift certificate good for anything in the store. If they brought in a whole bag of toy guns, they'd get one certificate for each one. I thought it was a great idea! The only problem is that after it was over, the owner didn't know what to do with all the returned toy guns! Talk about GOOD customer relations and community PR.
I know in the past they have offered discounts to teachers and educators. There are/were free "clubs" for certain products that after a certain number (not $ amount) was bought the total amount was added up and a percentage of that was taken off the bill. There is also a birthday mailing list for kids and on their birthday month they got a $5 gift certificate to use in store.
The toys that are sold are non-violent, but so cool. A good 80% of the store has a demo product opened so the customer can take a look at what they are buying. All music CD's are also opened and kept at the front. When a customer wants to hear a CD, they just ask and it is played over the store loud speaker.
I loved working there as I was taught true customer service and how to treat a customer, without being walked on. The place was so much fun to work at, that I still continue to shop there (11 years after I stopped working there!) and even though I live 1300 miles away. I sometimes order via the mail just to support places like this as I feel they "have it all".
The only "downfall" is that sometimes their prices are slightly higher (a couple of dollars or so), but I don't mind paying a minimally higher price for being able to shop in a store where I can touch and play with everything before I buy it. And if you ask an employee a question, they will spend as much time needed with you to assist you- with NO pressure to buy anything. The other downfall is they now charge for Gift Wrapping, but it's still a lot less than any place else and VERY unique.
Check out their website at: www.creativekidstuff.com