KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Small businesses across the Kansas City area have felt the economic strain of the pandemic, but one store in Brookside has rebounded and is ready for their busiest season of the year.
A Kansas City institution for decades, Brookside Toy and Science is gearing up for the holidays.
They say they lost half their business at the start of the pandemic, but have turned around and are gearing up for the winter rush, complete with multiple hand sanitizer stations in the store and masks required inside.
Holly Pollard is at home with all of the games and toys in the store.
"I started here in September of the year I was 18, so in 1999," she said.
And after a 10-year stint, she started a family, came back, and is now the owner, succeeding a family that helmed the shop since 1964.
"I have a huge responsibility to uphold the reputation that they spent so much time working and building," Pollard said.
This time of year is her favorite.
"The best part of being in the store at Christmas time is, from the time you open the doors until the end of the day, it’s fulfilling dreams," Pollard said.
Those dreams have been harder to fulfill since March, but the store has adjusted.
"My biggest concern is that people don’t know what we would be willing to do for them," Pollard said.
The store now has an online shop, phone orders, curbside pickup and delivery.
"I want the kids to get their Christmas list, and if that stuff is here, whatever I can do to help that along," Pollard explained.
It’s not just the classic game of chess that’s flying off the shelf. Puzzles, building toys, and robots are all popular, but it’s called Toy and Science for a reason.
"Once you get past this front toy store, you get to the science," Pollard said, pointing out chemistry sets, machines, frogs and other keys to unlocking intellectual curiosity.
It’s all part of the tradition.
"This is a toy store, if Christmas isn’t here, then where?" Pollard asked.
With Christmas and her Dec. 25 birthday coming up, Holly keeps the spirit of the season alive, bringing out that childhood wonder in everyone.
"I feel really, really proud to be a part of this wonderful magical place," she said.
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