Owner marks 40 years of puzzles, stuffed animals, ponies, books
When your toy store is 40 years old, you might not be expected to remember the first toy you ever sold.
But Pam May remembers hers.
“I don’t remember what the most popular toy was, but I will tell you I was 25 years old,” the owner of Toys Unique in Inwood Village said. “And my first toy that I ever sold was a puzzle, and it was a Melissa and Doug puzzle.”
Ironically, May said her favorite toy growing up was not one she ever owned.
And my passion is the customers, and my staff, and buying the toys that I know that they would love.Pam May
“My favorite toy as a child was the Lite Bright — but I didn’t own one,” she said. “The girl down the street did, and I always wanted to play with hers.”
May said she came into the toy business by marriage to her husband, Dean.
“My husband bought a failing toy store down in Houston, and then he bought the sister store in Arlington. And then I came along and married him,” she said. “And guess what I got to do? I got to run a toy store. Those were our very first two toy stores 40 years ago.
The Mays expanded from there and, at one point, had a 12,000-square-foot warehouse in Richardson and even more stores. But eventually, they decided to have one store.
“It got to be where it was more of a job having so many locations as opposed to a passion,” she said. “And my passion is the customers, and my staff, and buying the toys that I know that they would love.”
So now they have one very busy location and a passion for bringing fun toys to customers.
“My favorite thing about having a toy store is my customers,” May said. “Without my customers, I wouldn’t have a toy store, and this community, especially this neighborhood, has been overwhelmingly supportive, especially through COVID last year and onward, and I can not do enough for them.”
May said that her years of experience have helped her decide what kind of toys to offer, and frequently customers will come to her with great suggestions, too.
“After doing this for so many years, I have learned to know my customer, and I think that’s the key to any successful business, no matter what you’re selling — no matter whether it’s computer software, whether it’s clothing, whether it’s toys, you have to know your customer, and you have to know what they want and what they’re looking for,” she said.
“After so many years, I think I might’ve figured that out, but that’s not to say I don’t make mistakes.”
John Erickson, the son of digital editor Bethany Erickson, is a fifth-grader at Chapel Hill Preparatory in Dallas.