Mass Ave Toys


On June 17, 2020, Mass Ave Toys announced that they were closing their doors for good. This Indianapolis staple in the family community was a beloved favorite place to select special toys for birthdays, holidays and special occasions. Mass Ave Toys will be missed.

Notice to the community regarding the closure:

“Well.

After much contemplation we’ve closed Mass Ave Toys.

We’re retiring with 40 years (and some change) in the toy industry under our belts.

Having started in 1978 with a few ideas and a lot of gumption, I found an untapped market and did all in my power to bring this city the world’s most beautiful toys, dolls and teddy bears. We avoided a lot of trends and a metric ton of licensed character toys in order to provide the kinds of playthings that would last, not only through your children’s youth, but that could be kept for future generations in your families. That was important, because family is everything.

Now it’s time to sit on the floor with our own grandkids and play! And maybe someone will help us back up!

We have to thank the hundreds of people who have worked for us over these 40+ years — you were smart, funny, kind-hearted, hard-working and vitally important to the success of both of my toy stores, the original Kits & Kaboodle being the other. So many of you have become dear friends and we love you now & forever!

Thanks also to the sales representatives and companies who worked with us to get the toys onto the shelves. Those long, long sessions of ordering toys were made tolerable and fun by you! You are sweethearts! And the unsung heroes of the toy industry.

I also have to thank my husband, Doug, for all of the back-breaking hours of making the store so beautiful and functional. You have worked your magic over and over again for decades and are the life’s blood of the store! You know I love you.

Thanks also to the office staff, who made everything run behind the scenes. Kathy, you worked miracles with your calculator and the tenacity of a Spartan, and Mike, you helped in every way an owner could ask! From designing ads and ordering toys to store displays and 53 million “little signs” that hung in the stores over the years! I called you “my strong right arm” for very good reason. Thank you to all who worked behind the scenes here…you are jewels.

Now — most importantly — our beloved customers! It’s hard to put into words how much we treasure you! Without you there was no reason for us to open the doors each day. We wanted your kids to have the best, just like you did. We tried to provide fun “grown-up” things, too, cards and gifts to delight you. We thought about your needs more than you will ever know. We stumbled a few times, but you always forgave us! Retail is hard and crazy…ask anyone who’s done it and they’ll tell you, Thank you for sticking with us and being our friends…we hope we were yours.

So….get out there and support local toy stores whenever possible….they need you right now, more than ever! But they always need you and they’re working hard to make you happy.

Take care, everyone — we love you!”

————-

Play is the work of childhood and Mass Ave Toys knows a thing of two about this. Nestled in the back of a collection of small businesses on the corner of 54th Street and the Monon, Mass Ave Toys is hard to miss with its playful red light up bears and toys decorating their windows. My children let out audible gasps when we approached the storefront. But why is it called Mass Ave Toys if it isn’t on Mass Ave? Well, from 2006 to 2016, the storefront was located there but after the building was sold, owner Natalie Canull scoured the city and found this now booming area to set up shop.

The art of play is whimsical and magical and Mass Ave Toys captures this essence so beautifully. The store is filled with high quality toys and resources to spark your child’s imagination. The store prides itself on selling toys from lesser known brands or hard to acquire items. My children were immediately drawn in and were so excited to try out a variety of the toys in the shop. While it is important to remember that this isn’t a playroom, kids can test out a few of the toys and the store is truly theirs. I loved watching them and seeing what was of interest to them. The sales staff loved having the kids in the store and showed them so many things, it was just wonderful to have that personal touch. They even went so far as to learn my children’s names!

If you love wooden or open-ended toys, this is the place for you! Create an Instagram worthy playroom with the resources available here. Grimm’s, Hape, Melissa & Doug, and Haba were among the brands I came across during my perusal. I made a note to myself that this is the place to buy those special gifts for little ones. These toys are special. You can’t find these toys in all the big box stores; they are unique and many are made by small businesses. I was excited to find toys in the shop that I thought I could only order online. There were also gifts for the young at heart. Beautiful cards, small gift items like coffee mugs and notebooks, and intricate posters were all available for purchase. I found the perfect book for a friend and was even offered free gift wrapping! Speaking of books, there is also a fantastic selection of children’s books. These are great to add on to any gift you may purchase!

It is clear to see why Mass Ave Toys has won many awards for being a great toy store. There is an additional reason why this new location is special though. There is a birthday party room in the back! This party space is decorated with colorful streamers, stars, and pompoms. Everything is bright and colorful, perfect for a cheerful celebration. Included in the room are 2 puppet theaters for kids to play with, tables and chairs with space to comfortably hold 20 to 30 people (especially small children), a refrigerator and a microwave. You are welcome to bring in whatever food and drinks you would like and clean-up is a breeze. Just throw your trash away and you are good to go. This space is adorable and is only $99 for 2 full hours!

Mass Ave Toys is excited to be able to share this space with the community and is ready to host more than just birthday parties. If you see this space and think it would be great for a pop up art class, meeting location, baby shower or even a story telling for children, do not hesitate to contact them! Weekends can fill up quickly with birthday parties but time slots during the week are also available.

We felt so welcomed in this space. The employees are eager to help you find that perfect toy and know so much about the products in the store. It was great to see them interact so effortlessly with my children and help them discover the toys surrounding them. That is truly part of the beauty of a small business. You come across people who care and are passionate about their work. We take play very seriously in my family and I am glad to see that Mass Ave Toys has the same philosophy. 

Mass Ave Toys is located at 1057 E. 54th St. Studio J Indianapolis, IN 46220. Any questions about renting the back room or inquiries into toys can be made to infomassave@gmail.com or by phone at (317) 955-8697. They are currently open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm with the exception of Mondays. During the holiday seasons, these hours change slightly with the addition of Monday hours.

Article By: Jessica Deubner

Address
1057 E. 54th St. Studio J
Indianapolis
IN
46220

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