Celebrating Local Businesses: The History Of US Toy
Good Sunday evening to you, Kansas City!
We are so fortunate to live in this big little city, aren’t we?! Kansas City is called home by a variety of incredible businesses both big and small. Corporations like Cerner, Hallmark, and Sprint are all headquartered right here in the greater KC metro area. These businesses add to both the culture and the economy in our town and it’s worth celebrating companies who choose to make KC home. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Seth Freiden for an interview. Seth is the CEO of US Toy, a business that was both founded and hosts its flagship store right here in Kansas City.
Founded in 1953 by Frances Gershon, US Toy has been a local favorite for several generations. At the beginning, Frances created and sold small toys out of her living room and sold them on revolving racks in drugstores and grocery stores across town. The family business, with humble beginnings, has since evolved into a multi-million dollar corporation. US Toy is now a global organization that distributes more than twelve million catalogs per year worldwide.
In addition to catalog sales, US Toy also has seven retail stores throughout the United States and an 800,000 square foot warehouse and headquarters right here in Kansas City. Frances’ grandson, Seth Freiden, is currently the CEO of US Toy and says that he is honored to have the opportunity to carry on the family legacy. But US Toy is far more than just your typical store. They serve as a resource hub for teachers, parents, and caregivers interested in enriching the lives of the children around them. They also serve as a go-to resource for party and event planning. The staff at US Toy includes former teachers who help develop products that encourage sensory and educational development which cannot be found in other stores – They are truly an asset to the community both with their presence and history as well as the resources they provide to families.
You might be familiar with their large store located just off of I-435 and State Line Road. If you haven’t been there for a while, you’ll likely notice a few changes next time you go in. The newly renovated stores has been modified to optimize your customer experience. With a layout that is more conducive to every day shopping – you’ll find that your essential supplies can now be found quickly and easily.
US Toy recently hosted a grand re-opening event on Saturday October 10th to unveil the renovations. These updates are consistent with recent work made to their KC based warehouse which has enabled US Toy to drastically reduce their energy footprint and impact on the environment. Seth tells me that US Toy has a goal to be good stewards of the environment and it seems that the updates they make all coincide that with that goal.
At the end of the day, US Toy hopes to be a brand that people recognize and are proud of both here in Kansas City as well as across the globe. Seth shared with me that there are so many incredible stories from their life-long customers who have childhood memories from US Toy. How wonderful to be able to share those memories with future generations who can, in turn, create some of their own.
A big thank you to Seth and the US Toy team for giving us the chance to peek into their business and share it with all of you. We are proud of the companies who call KC home and encourage you to check out US Toy for all of your educational and party needs. Visit them in person or online at www.ustoyco.com. Don’t forget to check out this month’s copy of iFamilyKC for an EXCLUSIVE US Toy coupon!