By IAN MUNRO
Daily News-Record 9/19/19
HARRISONBURG — In 2011, customers of Sheila Helmuth’s Harrisonburg business, Kitchen Kupboard, at the Shenandoah Heritage Market at 121 Carpenters Lane constantly spoke about the need for a toy shop.
Later that year, Josh Helmuth, Sheila’s son, and co-owner Wes Dunlap opened Timeless Toys at Shenandoah Heritage Market.
After already expanding once within the market, Timeless Toys opened a new location in the Agora Downtown Market, in Harrisonburg, last month.
“We’re trying to supply old-fashioned interactive toys that require imagination,” said Josh Helmuth, who is also a general manager at Helmuth Builders. There are many benefits to toys without screens or batteries, he said.
“If you start a kid using his imagination and interaction with toys, that can translate to helping them interact with people,” Josh Helmuth said.
Traditional playthings, such as darts or board games, help build social skills and bring families together, compared to a lone child playing on an electronic device, according to Josh Helmuth.
“You’re sharing an experience and growing relationships,” he said, adding that Timeless Toys has a unique offering — whereas most chains have increasingly stocked electronic toys.
Josh Helmuth said he and Dunlap also offer competitive pricing to keep ahead of online competitors.
Timeless Toys also has a Birthday Club, where members of the club receive a letter with a discount and one token for a free gift on their birthday.
“That’s been very successful and it helps bring people in,” Josh Helmuth said.
Timeless Toys also buys some of their stock from local crafts producers, including marble rollers and clothespin aprons.
Josh Helmuth and Dunlap saw opportunity in moving to downtown.
“We felt like there was a lot of the Harrisonburg crowd that we were not reaching and we felt this would be a good way to tap into that community,” he said.