World Eye adopts Magical Child: Bookshop owner buys Main. St. toy store

Recorder Staff
Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2016
*Archive Article*
GREENFIELD — Members of the community who thought they’d have to go without a local, independent toy store in town after the Magical Child closed its doors two weeks ago are in for a pleasant surprise.

The business was sold this week, and the new owner is a face that will be familiar to many on Main Street. World Eye Bookshop owner Jessica Mullins purchased the store last-minute, taking former Magical Child owner Mary Walsh-Martel up on the bottom-line, low price she was offering to sell the business for in order to avoid liquidation and closure. Walsh-Martel had been trying to sell Magical Child for months without success, and closed its doors Feb. 5 for what she thought would be the last time.

Mullins said the idea of buying the toy store had been in the back of her mind since she heard Walsh-Martel was selling, but didn’t become a real possibility until she heard other potential sales fell through and the business would close for good.

“Then it became, ‘This is real, OK, decide,’” Mullins said.

She is tentatively planning to reopen March 1 and will keep the store’s name. Aside from ordering new products, adding larger sizes to the store’s children’s clothing consignment business and hiring two new employees, Mullins said things will pretty much stay the same.

“I don’t want empty stores downtown and it’s really important to me to have variety and choice,” she said. “There isn’t going to be tons of money pouring in or anything, but I’m really hopeful that the downtown is going to survive. It will be nice to have a couple more jobs going, different things happening on Main Street.”

Mullins added World Eye, which held a week-long campaign last May to sell $15,000 worth of merchandise to keep from going out of business, is still in a tough situation.

“World Eye is still struggling every day to stay open and it’s an uphill battle and we’re all working really hard to keep it open,” she said. “I feel like we can do that with Magical Child, too, and kind of spread out the risk and spread out the overhead costs.”

Payroll taxes and insurance costs will be spread out between the two stores, she said.

Mullins added World Eye is working on very small profit margins because its two main products — books and cards — are pre-priced, so she can’t change markups of have big sales on those items.

“We’re in a better position than we were last May but some of the things that happen in the book industry are completely out of my control,” she said. “As long as I don’t put World Eye in jeopardy, then I feel like it’s worth the risk.”

Walsh-Martel said she’s excited about the sale and thinks Mullins will do a great job as the new owner.

“Bottom line for me is I’m thrilled it’s going to stay open,” she said. “I was ready to move on, but really didn’t want to see it close.”

Mullins said it’s important to her to preserve stores like Magical Child and World Eye, which people have been coming to for years.

“There are certain stores that have spoken to people and their kids have grown up here and we’ve watched the next generation going in here, and that’s what we have to save,” she said. “When we have people come in from other towns, they’re amazed by our downtown. They come in and they can feel that.”

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