ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (FOX 2) - In an age when consumers are buying everything online, a metro Detroit shop is celebrating a huge milestone.
The Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy shop started out as a hobby 50 years ago and has now grown into a toy haven for kids of all ages.
"My dad was a designer for GM and he had a large interest in trains and antiques so we started a little store over on Jefferson and it ended up doing so well he opened up a business over on Harper here," said co-owner Julie Everitt.
And the store on Harper did so well they moved down the street to a bigger location with an expanded assortment of toys, trains and, of course, Dad's old antiques that generations of families have come to enjoy.
"That's like my favorite thing that I see happening, is when I see a customer come in with a little one and they're so excited to be here just as much as their kids are because they came here as children, and then they get to see their kids get excited just like they did. I actually just had someone come in the other day and said they grandfather brought them in so it went way back, like the grandpa to the father to that son and now he's bringing his child in. So it's really nice to see the different generations coming in and enjoying our store. It just means a lot to us."
Small business means so many things to so many people and, in a day when you can just point and click and get an item shipped to your door, it takes a community to keep places like this going and you can feel that appreciation at places like Whistle Stop.
"We are grateful for a community that supports us every day. They are the ones that keep us going and, I think what really helps us is when someone who's in our store, we like to take them by the hand, help them in what they're looking for. A lot of people look for gifts and so we like to show them, what is the age of the child, what are they into and really hone in on what they want. And then when they're ready to find the perfect present we can take them up to the register and we even gift wrap for free so we want to make the whole experience special for them and I really think it's working."