One night this past December, Babylon moms Teresa Striker, Madeline Lunz and Amber McCullough were sitting around a socially distant bonfire, reflecting on the year’s end.
The pandemic brought on hardships for many Long Islanders, and the three women felt the need to create something magical after such a tough year.
“What this town is really missing after such a hard year is a toy store, something that really brings joy to our kids,” Striker said. “We’ve been locked in the house, with our children and toys were everything that could really bring happiness.”
Shortly after, the moms hit the ground running, launching Argyle Toys online in March while on the hunt for a physical location in downtown Babylon.
Today, the dream of bringing this “magic” to the village came true — Argyle Toys is officially open at 10 Grove Pl. in the old Surf Donuts space.
The shelves are stocked with wooden, women-owned, locally created and hand-crafted toys meant to grow with children from age newborn to 11 years old.
Sustainability plays a major role in choosing what toys to sell, the women say, and almost all of the products are non-battery operated.
Additionally, a sensory section is featured in the store, curated by Lunz who is a special needs mom herself.
She knows firsthand the challenge of finding toys that match a child’s specific skill and entertainment level, especially in the special needs community.
From sensory bins to fidgets, the sensory toy area in Argyle Toys ensures every child gets a toy they love.
Argyle Toys is the one-stop-shop for higher-end gifts or quick, affordable purchases to-go.
A majority of kids these days gravitate towards tablets or parents buy toys from major retailers, Striker and Lunz say they want to revive the charm of a small town toy shop.
Kids running wide-eyed, scanning the shelves and reaching for toys they can’t wait to try or haven’t seen before is the “magic” of Argyle Toys in action.
“They are used to the Targets and the Walmarts, or even just a click of a button on Amazon,” Lunz said. “I think the world just hit the reset button, I know personally I just think less is more.”
Striker adds the importance of following their own children’s perspective when thinking about what they want to stock their shop with next.
Many of the toys are their own childrens’ favorites.
The Babylon Village community has been incredibly supportive of the store since the three women started working on the physical location back in May.
Seeing the community come together to see how they can help out made Striker emotional, she said.
Striker says Babylon is the place they wanted to run their business from the very beginning.
“This is the one place where we got here and we said, yes let’s do it,” she said. “Electrical work was done by a neighbor of ours, the painting was done by a neighbor of ours, my friend did the windows — so we just have a really great community and support system.”
To continue nationwide access to Argyle Toys’ line-up, the online business is still up in running in conjunction with the storefront.
Check out the photos below by Andrew Theodorakis of Yellow House Images, also Greater Long Island’s head of multimedia.
Top: Little boy finding the perfect toy in Argyle Toys in Babylon Village, officially open for business.