Toy store in downtown St. Joseph up for sale

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — Bill and Claudia Vescolani have decided to sell their downtown St. Joseph business.

As owners of the Toy Company at 208 State St., the Vescolanis opened up shop in the summer of 1986. With its seven employees, Claudia Vescolani knows they will be in good hands after they retire from the toy business.

“We’ve been in business almost 30 years and we have retired from our jobs as educators,” she said. “Our children have children and our daughter is leaving for Cleveland. We want some free time to travel and come and go as we please.”

The sale will include the established name, website, social media accounts, current inventory, and all shelving and equipment. The Vescolanis will retain ownership of the building, which has three apartments on the second floor, Claudia said.

“We took one year at a time and all of a sudden it’s been 30 years,” she said. “We never thought it would be open this long. Of course we never thought of selling it either.”

The business is known for its “specialty toy lines.” Claudia said they try to stay away from the toys that are sold in the mass market.

This often includes a toy from an inventor that showcased it for the first time at a toy fair. Claudia said the Toy Company is a starting point for a lot of toys that become widely distributed. The staff at the Toy Company have seen several fads come and go, including the Beanie Baby craze, while offering favorites like Playmobil and Thomas the Tank Engine.

According to its owners, the store has always aimed to provide toys that develop skills, confidence, creativity and curiosity.

“We’ve always had play trains since the beginning,” Claudia said. “I guess not a whole has changed. We have tried very hard to stick to child-powered toys instead of ones that use batteries. We sell toys that can be used in multiple ways.”

Anyone interested in buying the business can call Tala Real Estate in Coloma at 944-6883. Claudia said her son – Andy Vescolani, who was 18 months old when the Toy Company opened  is handling the store’s sale.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 20, 2015)

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