After years of supplying college students with concentrated unicorn farts, plastic mustaches and Hello Kitty merchandise, Toy Joy will be moving downtown.
On June 1, the store will move from its home on the Drag to Guadalupe and 2nd streets below Violet Crown Cinema. Lizzy Newsome, Toy Joy’s toy curator, said the move is mostly because their lease is up.
“What we’re saddest about is losing a building that we can do whatever we want to the outside,” Newsome said. “But there are negatives and positives to having your own building. It’s a lot of work to maintain the outside of the building and so we’ll be able to focus more on the inside of the space and spend all our efforts on the displays and the interior instead of having to split our efforts.”
Newsome said they’re working with their new landlords so that the new store will be as exciting on the outside as possible.
“We’re definitely going to miss it,” Newsome said. “Toy Joy has been on the Drag for a long time and we’re certainly going to miss the tradition. I mean, I first started shopping here because it was so close to UT and that’s how I found it. A lot of people found our store because of UT. I think that’s what we’ll miss the most: students just sort of wandering in.”
Psychology senior Micole Pidgeon visited the store for the first time recently. She walked to the store from her West Campus home.
“It’s authentic Austin,” Pidgeon said. “It’s quirky and weird. Everyone talks about it and knows about it and so I realized I had to come see it.”
Newsome said a positive result of the move will be replenishing items in their stock.
“We laid everything out in the new space on our remodeling plans and it looks like everything is going to stay,” Newsome said. “I mean, the market is definitely going to change, we’re even looking at bringing in some old stuff that we haven’t had in years. We’ve had a lot of fun trying to chase down stuff that we miss. I think everyone is going to be really happy with the stock in the new location.”
Matt Puckett, a Toy Joy floor employee, said he’s excited for Toy Joy to start with a blank slate.
“Toy Joy has been around for a long time and a lot of people have worked here and it’s been at other locations than this one,” Puckett said. “But I came to this store as a kid and there’s definitely a history here that can’t be replaced.”
While the new location will be more difficult for students to reach, Newsome feels confident that Toy Joy will stay relevant.
“It’s not going to be a ritual anymore, but I think it will still be a place students will visit,” Newsome said.