GREENWICH, Conn. – Toys seem to get flashier every holiday season, but Andrew Lev, manager of Smart Kids Toys in Greenwich, says old favorites like wood dollhouses or castles are still among his hottest-selling items this time of year.
"Some things just never go out of style," Lev said. "Even wooden castles or marble raceway sets – they just provide endless hours of creativity."
But if flashy is what you want for the holidays, Lev's store has some of that too.
Smart Kids Toys , which celebrated its 25th anniversary in October, is stocked and ready for the holiday rush, according to Lev. He said sales at his East Elm Street store began to pick up right after Thanksgiving and he expected a steady increase right up until Christmas.
"I'm looking forward to a good season," Lev said. "It's not always easy to survive and stay around in the world of the big guys. But we put a tremendous amount of effort into staff training so all our staff can answer any questions anyone might have about the store."
According to Lev, a new line of Playmobile play sets and Calico Critters have been among the hottest-selling items so far this holiday season. He also said Nanoblocks have been a popular gift for older children.
Lev has worked for Smart Kids Toys for 20 years, so he knows what to expect when the holidays come.
"It can get hectic during these crazy days, but it has its moments," he said. "If there's not some element of fun going on in my store, then I'm not doing my job."
So what's Lev's favorite toy in his store?
"I have to admit that I'm personally partial to LEGOs," he said. "I grew up with them. I have a lot of toys, but I would have been so psyched if some of those cool 'Star Wars' LEGOs were out back when I was a kid."