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We are opening a new store and need your help! Five, nearly six, years ago when we were planning for Penny Post, Old Town’s beloved toy store Why Not? announced it was closing. Every parent I knew started mourning immediately. It was a profound loss for Old Town. Why Not? was an institution. As soon as I heard that it was closing, I asked myself if I should pivot Penny Post to a toy store. Of course, the answer was no – and aren’t we all glad Penny Post is here!? – but we’ve been planning to open a children’s store ever since.

Now that the pandemic is over and the right location has been identified, it is with great pleasure that I announce we will be opening a children’s gift and toy store this fall. (If all goes well with construction and permits, that is!) A toy store is long overdue in Old Town and I’m just thankful that no one else has thought of it yet. Whew! Many of us have done what we could to fill the hole Why Not? left, but there is still a need for a store devoted to children’s gifts. And that is exactly what we have planned.

You can expect all the same great things we have at Red Barn Mercantile just a lot more of it. With an emphasis on well-designed, quality toys that allow for children to learn through play, we will give parents a better alternative to Target and the Internet. We will feature art supplies, science experiments, plenty of toys for open-ended play, games, puzzles, lots of books, and even a wall of candy. Yes, that’s right, candy! It will be every kid’s dream store!

So, why are we telling you all of this now and not closer to opening? Well, because we need your help. We need a name! There are a few ideas floating around and we think we have a front-runner, but we would really like to be sure. So, please vote for your favorite here. Leave your email and you will be entered to win $100 worth of gift cards. Also, we are open to new ideas. If you are a creative genius and want to submit a name idea, we are all ears. In fact, if we choose your name over one of ours then we will pay you $500 worth of gift cards. (We would own the rights to the name, naturally.)

Naming a store is hard. There are so many things you must keep in mind. It has to be gender and age neutral, can’t be hard to spell, and no made-up words. If it is an unusual word then you have to be able to sound it out. It can’t exist anywhere else (so we can trademark it), the URL and Instagram handle have to be available, it has to be easy for a kid to say but not sound weird when an adult says it, etc.  It also has to go with our aesthetic. 

Here is a mood board that I put together for our interior designers from Anderson Wier. Think bold colors but not primary colors, nostalgia (of course!), and maybe a little Frenchie. Clearly, this will not be your ordinary toy store. But nothing our team does is ordinary!

Follow along on Instagram as we build out our new baby. And wish us luck! We can’t wait to see you all this fall!