If you’re looking to buy beautiful bespoke toy tractors while receiving a firm Yorkshire welcome, then there’s only one place that will do.
Hillside Toys is located in the heart of Ingleton, a small village at the tip of the Yorkshire Dales.
While the village is widely known for its magnificent caves and waterfalls, locals are also aware of the constant stream of farmers who stop by the shop near the A65 to buy toy tractors, Land Rovers, quads and chargers for their children or, as is often the case, to add to their own growing collection.
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Owner Brian Huck, now 70, decided to turn the site into a toy store in the early 1990s during what he described as a recession for the farming community.
“We had to do something,” he said. “We already had an industrial zone from which we sold tractors and equipment to farmers, but suddenly they stopped buying. Not because of us, but things got tense.
“We decided to do something different and got into farming toys. If it’s not related to farming, we don’t stock them.”
The decision was a good one, and Brian said that since the company was founded, “it has grown and grown and grown”.
While selling toys imported from all over Europe, the store is particularly popular for the toy tractors made locally by Brian’s son, William, with whom he co-runs the business.
The beautifully designed and highly detailed models are a hit with customers who travel far and wide, with buyers buying them not only as toys, but also to add to their collection.
Brian said: “There are avid collectors of farm toys. They aren’t toys, some of them because they aren’t cheap.”
The store is now approaching its busiest season and Brian said he has been stocking up for Christmas for several months.
He said: “It’s already busy but we made sure we were prepared.
“After coming out of the EU the paperwork changed and Covid didn’t help, but so far we haven’t suffered a shortage.”
Inside the store is what visitors regularly refer to as an “Aladdin’s cave” of farm toys, with shelves filled with all manner of models.
The enjoyment customers get from visiting the store is worth it, as Brian says, “We couldn’t do a 9 to 5 desk job. We want to be in the community and do something we’re proud of. .
Tractors and agricultural equipment are still sold at the site, with many customs coming from overseas.
However, despite selling toys and bringing joy to children, Brian takes no prisoners when it comes to running the store and has rules he abides by.
He said: “We don’t offer any form of delivery service for any of our models in the UK. If you don’t come and see us, you don’t get anything.
“That means people inevitably come back and in some cases you have passing farmers who will drop by on their journey to buy something.”
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He said he makes exceptions for toys delivered overseas and has shipped his tractors to collectors in the United States, Canada, Europe and New Zealand.
Brian decided to get into farming 10 years before starting the store, saying, “Farming is too slow for me. I haven’t done it for 40 years now.
“One crop a year is not enough. When you sell toys, it’s like constantly growing and selling a crop.
“You can have a bad day, but you can just do it again the next day.”
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