Little Tiger Toys in downtown Bellingham will close for good later this month.
Store manager Selah Tay-Song announced the decision in an email to customers on May 14. Little Tiger Toys has begun a liquidation sale of its merchandise; the store carries toys and games for customers of all ages.
The store’s final day will be Monday, May 26, Tay-Song said. Until then, Little Tiger Toys will keep its regular daily hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and might stay open later in the evening on a few of its remaining days, she added.
“We deeply appreciate all of the community relationships and support,” Tay-Song said. “We have a lot of customers who care about what we do, but not enough customers to carry us in this space.”
Tay-Song said Little Tiger Toys struggled to make a profit each year since moving to its current location at 112 Grand Ave., in May 2012. The store opened in 2008 at 1417 Railroad Ave., next to Casa Que Pasa.
Calling 2014 a “make it or break it” year, Tay-Song said the goal was to grow Little Tiger Toys’ annual profit by 1-5 percent by the end of the year. But that goal now appears unattainable.
She declined to say how much money Little Tiger Toys made in 2013. But she did say the store was profitable prior to its move to Grand Avenue.
Tay-Song said Little Tiger Toys faced significant competition from online retailers. She said her staff would regularly overhear customers discussing how they had previously seen or purchased in-store merchandise through Amazon or other Web-based merchants.
Along with additional competition from other local toy stores, Tay-Song said the business faced several other challenges, including a drop in foot traffic and available parking after the store moved locations downtown.
In the end, business expenses simply overran sales, she said.
Tay-Song said she and her staff have greatly appreciated all of the support customers gave the store. She noted how customers pulled through to help Little Tiger Toys weather a loss of sales from a temporary store closure last December after a burst pipe caused significant water damage.
“People came out in a such a big way,” she said.
Evan Marczynski, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or email@example.com.