“Christmas is the most exciting time of year in our store,” exclaims Jill Copelin Hunt of Kidoodles Toy Zone in Norman. “But, truly, every day is exciting in our store!”
Kidoodles is located inside Copelin’s Office Center on downtown Main Street in Norman. Established in 1983, Copelin’s originally gained a reputation for quality customer service with its full line of office and computer supplies, office furniture and teaching tools. As it grew, Copelin’s expanded its service to parents and educators by providing enrichment toys, puzzles, crafts and other teaching tools needed for the classroom and homework help.
In 2009, an opportunity came about to combine their well-known customer service with another iconic Norman business, a specialty toy store called Kidoodles. “Kidoodles had a long-standing reputation of meeting the needs of kids,” explains Ed Copelin, owner and founder. “It had been in business in Norman for 27 years, so they were serving parents who grew up shopping there. When the former owners were ready to move on, we essentially combined two completely operational stores. It fit like a glove and was the perfect complement to our teaching supplies.”
Today, Copelin’s Kidoodles Toy Zone stocks a wide range of educational and developmentally-appropriate toys for kids of all ages, including Melissa & Doug, Playmobil, LEGO, International Playthings, Tolo, Brio and more. “We strive to provide both quality toys and quality service,” Jill explains. “We have things in our store that aren’t available anywhere else.”
A Local Toy Tradition
“In our family, we have 10 children under the age of 11 and we are always striving to find quality, educational-based toys. The toy section has just been growing and growing. It has pretty much taken over the store,” Jill laughs. “Sometimes people come in to buy a printer cartridge and they are just blown away by the toy section. Sometimes they end up shopping and buying a birthday present while they are here.”
Families who were familiar with Kidoodles will recognize the large selection of high-quality, educational toys, as well as the other crowd pleasers—namely, the store’s “kid-sized” entrance door and mini-shopping carts. “It’s an important part of the environment here,” Ed comments.
“Families can come in and try out a sampling of our toys that are avaible on the sales floor,” Jill explains. “They can put their hands on the toys and can see their kids interact with many of our items before they purchase them.”
“We belong to a professional association of locally-owned toy stores,” explains co-owner Lin Copelin. “This helps us to stay up-to-date on our toy offerings and the latest safety standards. We have high quality standards and have been known to send a shipment back if it doesn’t meet our standards.”
The Perks of Shopping Locally
The Copelins are strong supporters of local shopping, explaining that every dollar you spend at a local, independent business returns three times more money to the local economy than the same dollar spent in a chain or “big box” store.
“Plus, we can help you find an awesome, hand-selected gift for any child, especially during Christmas,” Jill explains. “We can make suggestions based on the age and interests of the child, or give you ideas based on our best-sellers.”
For customers who are tight on time, Kidoodles takes it to the next level. You can call the store and tell them your budget and the child’s age. Hunt explains, “We will select the gift, wrap it and deliver it straight to your car.” To reward repeat customers, Kidoodles offers a VIP card that provides a $10-off coupon for every $200 you spend in the store.
If you’ve ever struggled to come up with a gift for one of your child’s friends or classmates, Kidoodles has a perfect solution. “Our birthday registries allow kids to shop our store and pick out items they would love to receive,” Hunt says. “That way, you can get something you know the child wants and feel confident that all items have been ‘mom-approved.’”
Hunt recommends setting up the registry two weeks before the child’s party and then all items are conveniently grouped together for quick and easy shopping. Kidoodles provides each “Birthday Star” with a T-shirt and registry inserts to include with invitations. “It’s a really popular service,” she adds. “It’s so helpful for guests and something that is fun for the birthday child and parents to do together.” Kidoodles can also set up Christmas registries to help extended family members shop for holiday gifts.
As one of the few locally-owned toy stores in the area, Hunt says Kidoodles’ fun atmosphere reflects the store’s spirit. “We have a good time here. We are constantly playing with toys and trying out new things,” she says. “It should be fun—it’s a toy store!”
What do customers love most?
“They know to expect quality customer service and to always find the perfect gift. We help them locate just the right gift and even wrap it up for them.”
Kidoodles Toy Zone
425 West Main Street, Norman
For more information, visit www.kidoodlestoyzone.com.
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor of MetroFamily Magazine.