AN Ennis toyshop will be featured in a brand new TV show airing this week on RTÉ.
Little Ones on Parnell Street, in the county seat, specializing in traditional wooden toys and children’s gifts, is among the stores to appear in The Toy Shop which will air on RTÉ One on Wednesday evenings at 9:30 p.m. and again on Christmas day on RTÉ 2 at 8:45 p.m.
The program was produced by Atom Films, creators of the acclaimed films Older Than Ireland, Abbeyfealegood and The Irish Wedding.
Little Ones owner Fiona Ryan told The Champion that she was thrilled to be a part of the program and to be able to share the joy that toy stores can bring in people’s lives.
“I was contacted by Atom Films to participate in the program, I don’t know how they found out about our existence but I think originally they were looking to do a program on toys in general, then they wanted to focus. on independent businesses and we are one of 16 stores to feature.
Recalling the shoot, she said: “I was obviously nervous at first, but it was a great opportunity and there was no way I could turn it down.”
The Toy Store sees program makers sitting down with the people and places that spark the imaginations of their younger customers and the memories of their older ones.
It is a documentary about the fundamental, and sometimes underestimated, role of toys in our lives.
The show’s business owners discuss the power of toys and the role they play in making our wildest dreams come true – from being a pilot, a teacher, an artist to opening a toy store.
Fiona agreed that toy stores can be magical places for both young and old.
Speaking about her own store, she said, “There is a nostalgia here, especially in the types of toys that we sell. I guess it relates to what people played with themselves in their own childhood.
“There’s always a lot of excitement with the kids coming in and wanting things, and making Santa Claus lists.
“I think our store has a great presence and a great feeling about it. Toys are there so that people can see them, touch them, play with them and see what they think about them. I think it’s a nicer feeling than a store with boxes stacked miles high.
First opened at Ennis in 2007, Little Ones is one of the youngest businesses featured in The Toy Shop, but is without a doubt one of the most inspiring and successful of them.
After becoming a mother, Fiona came up with the idea of opening a shop that sold toys mainly for young children.
With three children under the age of four – aged 4, 3 and 11 months at the time – she created a business plan, secured a loan, retail space and stock within a matter of months.
The business has only grown since then, and like other stores, the website has really taken off during the pandemic.
The success was such that Fiona had to secure a warehouse space from which the online activity is managed separately from the activity of the original store.
The primary focus has been, and continues to be, to provide customers with high quality toys at affordable prices that offer high play value that stimulates the imagination.
In addition to toys, Little Ones also sells its own “Millie and Me” baby line.
Fiona and her daughter Millie designed the full line of organic cotton bibs and strollers that have become a huge hit online and in stores.
While the show had yet to air, when we spoke to Fiona she told us that she had already been inundated with calls and texts from people eager to watch.
She has not yet seen any part of the program.
“I haven’t even seen the trailer. I can’t wait to see it, and I think it will be great to see what other small businesses are doing as well and how they were successful last year. I think that will be a really good look at that.