Hitting its second full holiday shopping season in stride, Albertville’s Kremer Toy and Hobby seemed like the perfect place to check out what’s hot this holiday season.
“I think what’s interesting is you have families who think we’re a hobby place, and then families who think we’re a toy store. What’s really true is we have all of that, and then some. We have toys, hobby items, games, cars and even sleds. So it’s truly a place where you can find anything,” said owner Ruth Kremer.
Kremer said there’s no “one single item” that’s heating up to be the Trendy Toy of 2014, unlike ZhuZhu Pets in 2009, Tickle Me Elmo about a decade ago or even Cabbage Patch Kids 30 years ago. With more interests among kids, more variety has become the key, instead of every child going home with that single, treasured item.
There have been some “hot” items, however. Calico Critters, for example, have been a rage with young girls. Kremer has a display of the little cats and animals that make the grade, as well as some of the “houses” for their sets.
For boys, slot car racing has made a bit of a resurgence in recent years, and NASCAR sets are available. Also, LEGO kits continue to be a hot seller for boys young and old, and Kremer said she has everything from Ninjago to Star Wars on hand.
Beanie Babies are another item that’s made a comeback. Kremer said she prides herself in stocking the newest in the Ty line of stuffed animals.
“They’re making changes all the time, so we try to stay on top of it. If someone is looking for something older, there are other places in town who have some of the Beanie Babies that aren’t part of the new releases,” she said. “We’re always happy to work with other places in town to make sure people get what they are looking for. That’s part of being a locally owned business in a community like St. Michael-Albertville.”
For adults, there’s a ton of stuff for the aspiring beer brewer or vintner. The store also carries a huge variety of party games, including Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, two games that have been seasonal hits the last couple of years.
There are also crafts of all sorts, from whittling and stitching to coffee mugs and figurines.
The store’s collection of radio controlled items – from boats to planes, cars to trains, is pretty hard to surpass. Kremer also carries a ton of items to fix damaged vehicles.
One thing, Kremer said, the store has tried to do is be a “solid member of the community.” With so many charities and toy drives this season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But Kremer said the staff there will help people fill those “giving tree” type items and within the shopper’s price range, as well.
“We even wrap it for them,” she said, “which is kind of rare now days.”
For all of the latest items at Kremer, check out their Facebook page and follow their notifications.