Toy Joy is making the move to downtown Austin. After more than a decade just north of campus on Guadalupe Street, the toy store is relocating on June 1to 2nd Street, right below Violet Crown Cinema.
The press release says Toy Joy is moving to “better serve our customers,” but I find this hard to believe. What better customers for bobble head nuns, mustache books and tubs of tiny plastic babies than college students?
Upon arriving to UT as a freshman, I was immediately bombarded with “you’ve gotta go to Toy Joy” suggestions . The brightly colored exterior tempts many a freshman in search of an activity that doesn’t require a car or bus to get to. It became a frequent stop for quick and last minute birthday gifts (sorry, friends who know they were on the receiving end of one of these gifts).
While 2nd street is a great place to shop and eat in Austin, it doesn’t seem fitting for quirky Toy Joy. 2nd Street is home to an artsy movie theater, the new ACL Live studio, Moody Theater, and several clothing boutiques. Toy Joy just seems like it will be the awkward new kid on the block with pretentious older kids judging it for making poop jokes.
The press release also stated there will be three parking garages available with free two hour parking. This is a valid benefit of the move considering it is nearly impossible to park at any of those shops near 28th Street and Guadalupe Street.
But, Buffalo Exchange, Antone’s Record Shop, Tom’s Tabooley and Toy Joy could give a freshman a fairly accurate depiction of the city in just one shopping trip. Where will we go now to get our safe version of “weird” Austin?
Maybe the move will be great and their business will boom as there are probably more tourists traipsing around downtown blocks than the grungy looking Drag. But I’ll miss Toy Joy and all those students giggling as they leave, 25 cent plastic baby in hand, to forever remind them of their first taste of what Austin was all about.