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Rediscovering Play at Doylestown's Busy Bee Toys

By David Boegaard

From the outside, Busy Bee Toys in Doylestown, PA looks like it could be any toy store. But Nerice Kendter, the shop's founder and owner, has worked to create a unique space for exploration of creativity and play, a source for great toys, and a community gathering place.

As a young mother, Kendter traveled with her husband and son on a series of business trips to Europe. "During these trips," Kendter says, "my son and I would seek out toy stores in order to find beautifully made toys to bring home." As her son grew up, she hatched the idea of opening a toy shop modeled after the stores she'd visited across the Atlantic.

What exactly is the European influence on Busy Bee Toys? "I was inspired by the toy selection, the friendliness of the staff and the ability to see and touch everything in person," says Kendter. "So when I decided to open my own toy store, I knew my shop would be very child-friendly with sample toys and games out on display."

Anyone who has a child knows that there is no formula for discovering a winning toy. One toy can seem to have all the bells and whistles, yet never be touched; something else is relatively simple, yet a constant favorite. This is one of the central beauties of a store like Busy Bee Toys. "Today, customers have many ways to purchase toys, from big box stores as well as on-line," notes Kendter, "but I believe nothing beats being able to see and touch toys for oneself from staff who actually know the products."

. "Our favorites typically come from companies that pay close attention to quality and long-lasting play value as well as promoting creativity," says Kendter.

Busy Bee isn't only a place for kids to come and find their next favorite thing. It's also a community hub for area families, and a resource. The store hosts open play time every Wednesday, and Kendter participates in holiday shopping fundraisers. "Throughout the year, I also host children's events in conjunction with local schools, have children's entertainers perform in my store, as well as offer store-run craft events," says Kendter.

Busy Bee Toys is more than a shop: it is a place to explore and engage with the world and others. "My staff and I consider ourselves to be a resource to the families in our community," Kendter says with pride. "We really enjoy helping people make connections!"

Busy Bee Toys is located at 58 E State St in Doylestown, PA. It is open from 10am-6pm Monday-Thursday and Saturday; from 10am-8pm on Friday; and from 11am-5pm on Sunday.

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