GREENWICH, Conn. – Toys have changed a lot since Mary DeSilva opened Smart Kids Toys in Greenwich 26 years ago. But DeSilva’s goals – to have children learn, create, experiment and enjoy – has remained constant over the same time frame.
“The categories of toys are timeless,’’ DeSilva said as she geared up for another busy holiday season. “But the specific products have certainly changed. You’re not going to see the same item that you could purchase 25 years ago. The dolls are a little funkier, the clothes on the dolls are a little edgier. Things change, but not the categories that people are interested in.”
DeSilva’s store at 17 East Elm Street in Greenwich has toys for every age. There are nearly 4,000 products on the business’ website alone, with sections divided by ages and categories.
Each year is different, but DeSilva has a good idea on what parents will want to purchase for their children for the holidays.
“Building is always popular,’’ said DeSilva, who added that her business is one of the top sellers of Legos among independent retailers in the United States. “The creative crafts are popular, like bracelets, stationary and learning to draw.”
Smart Kids also has the classics, such as Monopoly and Dominoes. And DeSilva is one of the few retailers who still carry a wide assortment of puzzles. Science-related items are also popular around the holidays, and DeSilva finds many parents purchasing outdoor and active play sets to use in large playrooms, basements and activity rooms.
DeSilva started her business on the second floor of a building on Greenwich Avenue. “It originally started with the concept of a toy line for older kids in preparation for going to a direct mail catalog,’’ she said. “We had a lot of science and nature. That was the early days of software, and that was a big part of the plan. Pretty quickly, it became a not so big part of the plan. We don’t sell software anymore.”
Then the business moved to its Elm Street location 16 years ago, and has continued to evolve. “The first big change was including more items for children from birth to age 3,’’ DeSilva said. “We always focused on having good quality toys and open ended play.”
DeSilva expanded to three stores at one point before consolidating and focusing exclusively on the Greenwich location. It is a relationship that has served her and the community well.
“We’re truly a local business entity that survives with the right kind of product in the right environment,’’ DeSilva said. “Greenwich is the perfect community for us.”
Smart Kids Toys offers gift wrapping, delivery and “the best service possible,’’ according to DeSilva. For more information, visit the store’s website or contact them at 203-869-0022.