Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 3, 2013

Toy retailer eyes downtown future

Expanding north side retailer will move next year.

By Scott Smith Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — It’s a heady time for Kokomo Toys & Collectibles, and not just because the Christmas season is nigh.

The husband/wife business, started in Amber and Todd Jordan’s north side home about five years ago, is getting set to expand in a big way, joining what some are calling a budding “Geek Street” block in downtown Kokomo.

Sometime early next year, Kokomo Toys is moving to 111 E. Sycamore St., where it will occupy an advantageous spot across from the coming city parking garage, and next to two highly synergistic local businesses, Goblin Games and Comics Cubed.

“They’re already calling it ‘Geekamore Street,’” Todd Jordan laughed. “Seriously though, I’m very excited to be moving in next to those businesses.”

The new location, recently vacated by the Area V Council on Aging, was made possible through a three-way deal with the Howard County Democratic Party.

The Dems’ headquarters are moving to the third floor of the Kokomo-Howard County Chamber of Commerce Building, and Area V is moving into the space the Dems vacated, 126 W. Walnut St.

The Jordans purchased the Sycamore address for $285,000, giving themselves three times more business space, and a high visibility location.

Since the business started, Kokomo Toys, 1244 E. Morgan St., has been run essentially out of the Jordans’ home.

“We just started on weekends, just for fun, selling stuff on Ebay,” Amber said. “About two years ago, we were able to quit our jobs with GM and just do this full-time.”

That’s around the time they purchased the home next door, and started a retail shop, which they open up on afternoons, about three days a week. They keep it fully stocked, and they still do their shipping from their home. The shipping — a happy byproduct of their booming Internet business — occupies the other four days of the week.

When the new location is up and running, they hope to become an officially licensed Lego dealer, to add to their trade in collectible toys from the 1970s to the present. Toy hunters can find a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter, a plethora of GI Joe action figures (and gear) along with the latest hot toys from current manufacturers.

“We actually get things before [big box retailers], because they have everything sent to big distribution warehouses before it goes out to the stores,” Todd said. “And we usually sell [new toys] for about the same price.”

Collectors come back because of their constantly updated stock of hard-to-find items, but local parents have come to see the business as a good place to get in-demand toys, without having to hazard the holiday shopping crowds, the Jordans say.

Downtown was appealing, they said, in part because of the new businesses there. The couple is planning to live above their storefront.

“Down [U.S] 31, there’s lots of traffic, but there’s no community,” Todd said. “We’d lived downtown before, and we liked it. Now it’s especially appealing, with all of the improvements they’ve made.”