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Goodbye, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s

After a few decades of being in business, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s Toys has closed its doors. Much could be said about this being the result of the poor economy, online stores cutting into local stores profits and the loss of small businesses, but they were our friends and now is not the time. They did so many things that were just plain right.

They weren’t so much a store to find the lowest prices as a store to experience the toys. You were guaranteed a request by one of the staff to sprinkle pixie dust on you our your children, and if you came back often enough, you might find yourself in the midst of a raging sponge rocket battle taking over the entire store. So many of the toys were out to be played with, including large wooden train layouts where there would always be a handful of toddlers pushing trains around the tracks. The books they stocked sparked the imagination, as did their toys. At closing, staff would sometimes come around an aisle and find all the knight figurines set up in a battle against the dragons and cute little toys from Japan.

They brought in musicians, helped sponsor shows, had repeated visits from animals from the zoo and their staff-created puppet shows were the best. The big tree would be pushed aside as well as several aisles and the store would be packed out. Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s was always a place to have fun, no matter your age. Tucson has lost a little bit of life with their closing.

Years ago we helped create their website, wanting an original illustration. With a little bit of Flash, we had some fun, especially on their staff page.

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Each page had a different illustration, and they were all going to have a lot of animated items, but we held off on that as the economy began to sour. Bubbles were supposed to float up, the bulldozer was going to push the clouds around, the giant bear was to rise up and the slowly return to peeking out over the landscape. The goldfish crackers were to swim around while the hook tried to grab them. In the bottom was a little outhouse, and you would have had to gone to Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s and used their bathroom to understand. For some children, they didn’t want to go to the store for the toys, but to go see the bathroom.

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle is a hedgehog, and we had her living in a tree stump. The leaves would fall, the door would open and she would peek out. Later on we wanted to have a herd of elephants run behind the stump and have a portal appear and the elephants would run into it and disappear. There was also going be a rocket balloon tower that would rise up and launch a rocket balloon [still one of the best toys. ever.] and more.

It would be wonderful to think that one day they would reopen, but the chances of that are less than slim. Someone else will have to give it a shot, making another toy store one that you don’t just visit but experience. Read their farewell here.