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Toy shop celebrates 50 years on Melksham’s high street

Colin Brown

THE Toy Shop on Melksham High Street is celebrating 50 years of creating toy memories for children across the town, with owner Clive Brown saying the success is all down to determination and getting involved!

The Toy Shop has remained a staple on the Melksham High Street, welcoming all ages, since Clive Brown and his wife took over from Geoffrey Slade in 1968, who previously owned The Toy Shop, selling sweets, toys – and tobacco! 

Clive told Melksham News, “We are still here in Melksham with no plans to pack up despite the current national economic struggles and the concern about the downhill of retail stores on the high street. But, the town has grown and we have grown with it!

“It’s all down to being involved with the business and working at it. I’ve been lucky that my son Matthew has had such an input, especially in the last 10 years when he has taken over the store after my own health issues. We opened the Trowbridge store  in 1983 as well, so it was working between the two.”

Clive first worked at Molten Bicycles in Bradford-on-Avon before getting the opportunity to buy the business. He employed one other person to help him, which has now grown to five. Two employees have also been with Clive and the store for 25 years. 

“It’s great to see grandparents coming in with their grandkids, who used to come in as children themselves when we first opened,” Clive continued. 

“Recently, I remember a lady and her husband both farmers with walking sticks coming into the shop. The lady said, ‘I saw the advert for your celebration in the Melksham News and I just had to come and see you’. It turned out she used to bring her children in here back when we first opened. That story really touched me and because she and her children still do jigsaws together now, I gave them a gift of one of our new puzzles in, a scene of a children’s toy shop.”

The store held a small celebration on Saturday 18th August, handing out  balloons and small toys for the children. 

“It’s in the national news about the death of the high street at the moment, but you have to have perseverance and a determined mindset for it to work. We have ‘stood the test of time’ and couldn’t have done it without the support from everyone – expecially the staff. 

“We have two members of staff here that have been with us for 25 years and you can’t do that without endeavouring to make sure they are treated right.

“I have no plans to finish up just yet, I’ll try to keep my fingers in the pie and keep an interest, as it helps the brain continue to work! 

“But a ‘whacking’ big thank you to the customers, and our regulars, who come in and we are glad to have the selection of toys we do, to keep bringing people back. Words fail me as I would like to say a lot more about the customers, as they are the ones who have kept us going.” 

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