Joyfully toy-fully

Christmas is starting early in Sequim. A new toy store, Tiny'z Toy Chest, opens its doors to the public today at 149 W. Washington St., Sequim, next to the Sunshine Cafe.

Owners David and Megan Schmidlkofer, residents of Sequim for nine years, always have loved toys.

"That was our hot date out - going to the store and playing with toys. This was even before we had kids," Megan said.

The Schmidlkofers have two boys, David Jr., 21/2, and Isaiah, 11/2. Isaiah was adopted from Ethiopia six months ago. The couple is expecting their third child on May 5.

Tiny'z Toy Chest is named after the two boys' nicknames, Tiny and Izzy.

Prior to opening the store, David was a general contractor until the slow economy stalled new construction. He figured now would be a good time to try something new.

"I wanted to spend time with my boys regardless of economics," he said.

The Schmidlkofers intend the store to be educational and hands-on for children. It features puzzles and games, toddler play tools, puppets, stuffed animals, books and an assortment of wooden toys.

All toys meet safety standards and are nontoxic. One brand of wooden toys they sell is dyed with vegetable oil. Megan said that this assures parents that children will be safe if they chew on them.

The couple is proud to say that the toys they offer can't be found anywhere else in Sequim. Port Townsend is the closest city with similar toys, Megan said.

"We want people to come here and go 'Wow!' We don't want to be just another toy store but a destination," David said.

The store's emphasis now is on younger children due to limited space, but the Schmidlkofers want to appeal to people ages "zero to 99," David said.

Eventually, the couple wants to branch out and find vintage toys. They also can order items from catalogs and are open to donating to nonprofit organizations when they can.

"We aren't in it for the money. We are in it for the passion of kids and family," David said.

The Schmidlkofers want the store to be a positive escape for children and parents.

"We want to see kids develop their imaginations and not just push buttons in front of a TV," David said.

Megan is excited that their store has fewer than five battery-powered toys.

Prior to opening, the couple didn't do a survey for what toys might sell best in Sequim.

"We looked at what we'd get for our own kids," Megan said.

"We love kids. We love toys. We have kids. It's all a good fit," David said.

A majority of the toys will be available to play with in the store. The couple has gone to several stores in the past and found store owners who disapproved of handling merchandise.

"We want people to come in here and experience and play with the toys," David said.

Eventually, books will be brought into the store with Megan's mother, Linda Gooch, leading story times.

The store will be closed for a few days when Megan gives birth. A sign will be posted at the storefront. Megan joked that she isn't planning on giving birth in the store.

Matthew Nash can be reached at mnash@sequim

Tiny'z Toy Chest

Toys for ages zero to 99

Puzzles, games, stuffed animals, wooden toys

and more

Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday

149 W. Washington St., Sequim

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