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ChildTrek wins award, will donate to children’s groups; the green toy business is doing well; owner looking for second location

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on April 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
April 29, 2009 4:12 pm

Tacoma toy seller ChildTrek has been named winner of the The 2009 Earth Day Window Display award – given out by the toy manufacturer Plan Toys. (That’s a picture of the display, as supplied by the store.) The winning window will remain intact until May 15 at the ChildTrek store at Freighthouse Square.

The motto at ChildTrek is "Natural toys, books and gifts for a green generation."

Founded by Miebeth Bustillo-Booth, herself a mother, as an online enterprise in 2007, the store opened a brick-a-d-mortar presence in 2008. For some retailers, 2008 was not a good year to open anything. Not so for her.

"Oh my gosh, Bustillo-Booth said earlier today. "You never really know when you open a business. It went in the black in the first month. I was nervous. When you have the stock market sliding, you start wondering what’s going to happen,"

She bought her fourth-quarter stock in July and August, and she became increasingly worried as the recession arrived. "Then sales doubled in November, and grew two-thirds more in December, and the store picked up too. We started running out of things. (Suppliers) were able to meet the demand."

Now she’s doing market research and planning to open a second store somewhere "between Renton, Gig Harbor and Lacey."

The new store will open in 2010, she said.

For having the greenest and keenest Earth Day window, she won $500 worth of Plan Toys – which she intends to donate to two local charities. (She’s still deciding which ones.) "We want to keep it in the Tacoma community," she said.

Her lines include products for for children 7 and under. Most are made of wood, although other materials – safe, recycled, green, non-toxic – are used. Best sellers include Uncle Goose ABC blocks, which are U.S.-made; German-made toys by Haba; and Grimm’s Spiel und Hulz.

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