For over a decade, folks have enjoyed the treasure trove of fun at the corner of 29th and Guadalupe, where Toy Joy, local purveyor of trinkets for kids and adults, has been located. But this week, Toy Joy announced it will leave its longstanding home in the University of Texas corridor for a new home in downtown Austin's burgeoning Second Street District.
The reason for the move? Toy Joy's lease on The Drag is up, and the Second Street District offered a retail space that will allow for more parking — and more visibility — for the store. "The new space provides an active retail location with more walking space, a kid-friendly location and lots of nearby parking," Toy Joy proprietor Lizzy Newsome tells CultureMap in an email interview.
"The rubber cockroaches, plastic unicorns and pregnant lady keychains will still be an important part of our identity."
While the new space, located at 403 Second Street (one block west of Austin City Hall), might be a cleaner home for one of Austin's favorite shops for keeping it weird, Newsome assures us that loyalists need not worry.
"The new space may be a bit cleaner, but it will still be overflowing with weird and wonderful toys," she says. "The rubber cockroaches, plastic unicorns and pregnant lady keychains will still be an important part of our identity."
For Newsome, the move to a more polished downtown locale is a sign that Toy Joy will always have a home in Austin, no matter how the Capital City continues to evolve. "We know that many Toy Joy loyalists will be saddened by the move, but we hope they will be happy that the store in continuing on. This move will allow Toy Joy to survive in an ever changing Austin retail landscape."
"We are sad about leaving the campus area," Newsome continues, "but we look forward to seeing more families in the store at the more accessible location." Toy Joy's move will leave a definite void on the north side of The Drag, but relocating Austin's weirdest — and most iconic — toy shop to Second Street brings overdue, and deserved, local flavor to the newest section of downtown.
Toy Joy moves to the Second Street District in June 2013. Until then, expect business as usual, along with special in-store events at the original location during May.