Playville toy store in Covington
A small business in Covington, Playville Toys Inc., has risen above countless adversaries. A true testament of trying times, the local toy store has withstood it all.
Playville has been in business for over 30 years. First opening its doors in 1981, Playville sought out to service the children of the area with specialty toys and gifts.
For over three decades the business has faced its fair share of problems. A local store always has its work cut out for it, competing against larger stores and companies that have the capability of buying in bulk and providing convenient locations everywhere.
In addition to having to compete against big names such as Walmart and Target, local businesses today are now battling the online shopping industry. Online shopping has continued to grow over the years because of its convenience and availability. Not fearing this market Playville’s owner, Stephanie Dupuy, is preparing for a busy holiday season. “We’re getting a lot of toys in for our stock and we have plenty of gift wrap ready to go!”
Playville has had to fight more than just corporate names. In April 2011, the small toy store ended a ring of robberies. In 2010-2011, an organized group of individuals robbed a number of businesses in the area. They targeted stores near the interstate for an easy escape, including a cell phone store and a restaurant. Their next, and final store, was Playville.
After an attempted robbery that went array, the owner called the police and reported the incident immediately. With cops circling the area she spotted one of the individuals involded in the incident, and flagged him down, allowing cops to close in and end the mayhem.
Despite its woes, the toy store remains as devoted as ever to its faithful following. Playville offers customers a unique, personal experience.”We specialize in customer service. We offer assemblies, delivery of large toys, free gift wrap… It’s hard to find that kind of service these days.” Dupuy said.
Her one-on-one customer interactions and personal detail establish a loyal group of customers that come back to Playville year after year.
In addition to her customers, Dupuy has founded her business with loyal employees; some having worked there for over a decade. Janie Wynne, a devoted Playville employee of over eight years, enjoys the hands on approach that Playville specializes in. “Over the years I have enjoyed helping new parents and even grandparents find gifts for their children. We establish relationships with the customers, and it feels more like a family.” Said Wynne. Being a grandparent herself, Wynne feels particularly close to the wholesome atmosphere. She even invited her daughter to work with her, who has been employed with Playville for over three years.
Playville has become flexible and learned to change with demand. The store used to carry bikes along with the toys. But seeing a greater need in the areas education industry, Dupuy decided to steer away from the bikes, and meet the needs of the area by selling teaching and school supplies.
To grow even more with St. Tammany’s prospering education, Playville started to carry Boy Scout and Girl Scout supplies; another need that was not yet met.
With its community in mind, Playville also does its part in giving back. As a sponsor for Toys-for-Tots, Playville hosts a donation box for the holiday season. Not stopping there, they also raise funds for the charity and the owner generously matches every penny that is donated by customers and employees.
Stephanie Dupuy feels that servicing and giving is her duty. “Its only right to give back to the community that has given me so much.”