OCEAN CITY – Open for its first holiday season is Berlin’s World of Toys, which has gained success by going against the grain from the typical toy store and stocking its shelves with educational and developmental toys that kids of all ages will love.
Olga Kozhevnikova opened World of Toys on May 25 after receiving the keys to the store on Main Street in Berlin only five days before.
In that time, with help from friends and family, the store received a fresh coat of bright green paint, every wall had white shelves installed, the shelves were stocked and displays were on the floor. Kozhevnikova had transformed the store into a children’s wonderland that carries the best of the best when it comes to toys.
Kozhevnikova had always wanted to open her own business. She came to the U.S from Russia with a teaching degree in math and physics. She had lived in the area prior to opening the business for 13 years, working in local restaurants as well as at the local Girl Scout Camp and spent a few years working at Ocean City Elementary. She has a 13-year-old son and a 22-month-old daughter.
“The little one motivated me,” she said. “I lived in the area and I knew we needed a nice toy store.”
Before deciding on running a toy store, she started off taking a business course at Wor-Wic Community College, followed by a business program at Shore Venture for new entrepreneurs. Out of 20 other students in the program, only two moved on to open their own business and Kozhevnikova is one of them.
By the time the program was over, she had already been researching the best-rated toy companies and had orders on the line.
“For me … I had to make this real, I had to take the risk, I had to do it,” she said. “I will never forget what my first customer bought.”
Since the day World of Toys opened its doors, Kozhevnikova said business had been unbelievable.
“I am very happy,” she said. “I have customers coming back over and over again. I have people coming in saying how nice it is and telling their friends about the store. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I did the right thing.”
World of Toys carries mostly the well-known brand of Melissa and Doug that are educational and developmental toys for imagination and learning and are generally made of wood and non-toxic paint.
The shelves are stocked with Melissa and Doug floor puzzles that range from 24-48 pieces and table-top puzzles that range from 30-500 pieces. Also, art supplies, activity pads, stamps, wooden blocks, musical instruments, make believe items like kitchen and foods, dollhouses and accessories, trains and much more.
World of Toys also offers several other brands such as arts and crafts by Alex toys, science projects by Scientific Explorer and Discovery, Corolle baby dolls and accessories that smell of vanilla, GUND plush, as well as many logic games by Thinkfun and Blue Orange, which was rated 10 Best Games by Dr. Toy. All toys cover a range of children’s ages.
Kozhevnikova walked through the store pulling each item off of the shelves explaining them in detail exemplifying her knowledge on each product.
“There is something behind everything,” she said of the individual toy’s way to teach a child.
Kozhevnikova spends a lot of time researching each item before ordering it, making sure it is good quality and will help a child learn while enjoying the toy at the same time.
“Every item that I bought for the store I know the age appropriateness, the developmental skills it gives … I have played almost every game,” she said.
Kozhevnikova enjoys helping customers, pointing them in the right direction to find the perfect toy or game for a child. On Black Friday, World of Toys will be offering all merchandise for 10 percent off.