Shop Local: ‘I still find after seven years, people think it’s still a new shop’ - March owner on adapting to the changing toys market
- Credit: IAN CARTER
If you’re a puzzles or games fan walking into the Outer Rim Toys shop, you would be instantly spoilt for choice.
“We offer quality branded toys and jigsaw puzzles. I feel it’s a more personal experience, seeing exactly what you’re buying rather than browsing online,” Phil Rolfe, owner of Outer Rim Toys, said.
“These kinds of shops offer something different to customers. We try to cover a variety of items, including darts, which has a large following in the March and Wisbech area.”
Darts has been a theme Phil has focused on during his seven years as shop owner, and as he pointed towards the dartboard placed on a right-sided wall, he shares how the sport has helped his shop thrive.
“I did quite well before lockdown, but that was hard because people are having to play darts at home. I try to be competitive with my prices,” he said.
“With the darts, you can actually try out the service by using the board, but you cannot get that online. Until you get the darts, you’re not going to know how they are.”
It’s not just the oche that matters to Phil.
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A variety of jigsaw puzzles and board games were also on show in his shop on Station Road, March and he also created a website during the coronavirus pandemic, but he admitted running a business can be hard work sometimes.
“I come from a collectables background and I would pick something off the shelf if it’s a collection and know what I was getting,” Phil said.
“I hope I’m doing something right. It’s hard work some days, but I still find after seven years, people think it’s still a new shop.”
Phil hopes the traditional ways of building relationships with the local community can work in his favour, even if he believes an uncertain future may lie ahead.
But despite that, for many families, puzzle masters and games fans, it may be harder to find a better range of choice in town.
“I think the toy market is different these days and getting the prices right can also be tricky,” Phil said.
“I used to collect Star Wars and action figures, but you have to change even as things fall in and out of fashion. But, it’s the quality of the brand and the personal service that you won’t get in a chain store.
“We’re always planning for the future.”
You can find Outer Rim Toys at 8A Station Road, telephone number 01354 656544 or visit their website: https://www.jigsawarcade.co.uk/.