BELLINGHAM - A downtown toy store known for its non-electronic products has decided to start a liquidation sale and will close Monday, May 26.
Little Tiger Toys began offering discounts Wednesday, May 14, at its store on 112 Grand Ave., near Henderson Books.
It had been in business for more than five years but a variety of factors led to the decision to close, said manager Selah Tay-Song.
The business has struggled to make a profit since moving from Railroad Avenue two years ago. There's less foot traffic and parking on Grand Avenue compared to Railroad Avenue, she said. The substantial growth of online sales for toys in the past two years also was a factor.
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It also didn't help that a previously frozen pipe burst in early December, closing the store for a few days during the holiday shopping season.
"2014 was to be our make or break year. Sometimes the universe has a way of telling you to move on," Tay-Song said in an email to customers.
In a phone interview, Tay-Song said she's going to miss the joy she sees whenever children and adults walk into the store.
"Just giving a child a free balloon can just make their day," Tay-Song said. "As an adult, it's a reminder to enjoy the simple pleasures of life."
Toys at the store are national brands as well as from local artists, including stuffed animals, puzzles, board games, Lego products and books.
"I think our customers appreciate being able to select from so many toys that don't take batteries," she said. "We have a strong base of loyal customers, but it wasn''t big enough to keep the business going."
Overall online sales continue to play an increasingly important role in retail sales in Bellingham. According to data from the Washington State Department of Revenue, Bellingham online sales totaled $10.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 31.7 percent compared to two years earlier.
The expenses of operating a brick-and-mortar store make it challenging to compete, Tay-Song said.
Little Tiger Toys store hours will remain 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the store closing at the end of the day May 26.
Details about the store can be found at littletigertoys.com.