May 4, 1979. Little did owner Linda Laramy think that Crackerjacks Toys and Children’s Books would still be around 40 years later. As she says, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Yes, indeed, and so it began. Forty years brings changes to all of us. Two Laramy children grew up in the store and now have children of their own.
Linda said, “We often see young parents bringing their children into the store and sharing with us their fond memories of the magic of being in Crackerjacks as a child. And the grandparents! They love having an excuse to come back into the store.”
She continued, “A retail store is basically buying wholesale and selling retail. Besides going to major trade shows in New York or New Orleans, sales reps from many different toy companies come to us. One of our reps told us once that Crackerjacks is unique in having the same wonderful sales force, practically from the beginning. Manager Jane Worm and book buyer Cindy Orban came onboard early and, although Cindy went on to The Country School, Jane is still here. Patty Woodward came soon after, and only left us two years ago. We have had a procession of high school girls, a new one every four years. Our sales team is the heart of the business and they make buying toys such fun!”
Crackerjacks has weathered several storms, the first being the arrival of Walmart. Linda added, “Although we always emphasized specialty toys, once it arrived, we let them handle all the Barbie dolls and TV advertised toys. This gave us the freedom to explore in depth the interesting toys coming out of Germany, Denmark and, yes, Thailand and China as well. Our next challenge is ongoing…Amazon. You can get anything on Amazon, but you can’t touch it or try it out online. And, for sure, you can’t get the benefit of our years of experience to advise you about the perfect toy for your four-year-old.”
People ask if Crackerjacks will close up shop anytime soon. Linda responds, “At this time, it’s still fun, and we have a very loyal following, so we’ll probably be around for the foreseeable future. Maybe a 50th party in 2029?”
Join Crackerjacks on Saturday, May 4 for its 40th birthday party. There will be 15% off all toys all day, a ribbon and cake cutting at 11 a.m., balloons, and lots of fun. Don’t forget to send Linda and the gang a birthday card.
Crackerjacks is a proud member of Discover Easton. For more information regarding Discover Easton, including ways to support the local business community of Easton, visit www.discovereaston.com. Stay connected with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @discovereaston.