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Downtown: YoYo Heaven comes to Main Street

There’s a new place downtown to walk the dog.

But there aren’t any pets inside YoYo Heaven – just yo-yos, juggling supplies and other skill toys.

Andy McBride of Loudon and his 23-year-old son Dan are opening the yo-yo shop at 132½ N. Main St. this week. Inside, they’ll teach customers how to yo-yo and perform tricks such as “walking the dog,” in which a yo-yo spins along the ground before returning to its user’s hand.

The father-son duo has been selling yo-yos and other skill toys online, but they decided to open a storefront and put their skills on display.

“Until you’ve actually seen someone who does skill toy yo-yoing, you don’t really know what it is,” McBride said.

McBride said his son has been yo-yoing for the past nine years, and he participates in professional yo-yo competitions.

“He’s almost always had a yo-yo in his pocket,” he said.

At the new store, Dan McBride will help customers learn new tricks.

The store, next to the Barley House, will open for the first time Saturday. It will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

As he unpacked yo-yos and other skill toys in the freshly painted bright-blue space Friday afternoon, Andy McBride said it can be difficult to find skill toys in traditional toy stores. And while children now play with computers and video games, he thinks the yo-yo is making a comeback.

“It seems to have seen a resurgence in the last few years,” he said, guessing that kids are becoming “numb to video games.”

At a recent competition in Boston, McBride said he saw participants walking up and down the street with their skill toys, including some beyond the traditional yo-yo. YoYo Heaven also features AstroJax, best described as “three balls on a string” that can be juggled and tossed into the air.

Skill toys are easy for kids to learn, and “kind of mesmerizing, if you will,” McBride said.

“It’s not just about yo-yos,” he said. “It’s more about using a toy that has a skill required.”

Another item at the store: Kendama, a Japanese toy with a ball on a string that users try to land into cups and a pin on the other end.

“It’s another one of those mesmerizing things,” he said.

McBride said YoYo Heaven will have toys for beginners and experts. Yo-yos range in price from $5 to $180.

“It’s not what it does, it’s how it’s made,” McBride said of his most expensive model, a nickel-plated yo-yo.

A new True Brew

True Brew Barista’s bookstore cafe is now open on South Main Street, inside the new Gibson’s Bookstore.

Coffee, crepes and lunch are available seven days a week in the new shop, said Stephanie Zinser, who owns True Brew Barista with her husband, Rob. They began brewing coffee from their second location Thursday.

“It’s been really good,” Zinser said. “Our first day was terrific.”

But True Brew’s original shop in Bicentennial Square is not going anywhere, Zinser said.

“We’re definitely open in both places,” she said.

There are some differences between the two shops. The bookstore cafe features crepes, and doesn’t have quite as large of a drink selection as the shop in Bicentennial Square. Live music events will only be held in Bicentennial Square, but the bookstore cafe will coordinate its hours with author events at Gibson’s and performances at the Capitol Center for the Arts.

Both stores will feature True Brew’s most popular coffee and tea drinks, Zinser said, and the bookstore cafe will soon have a liquor license to serve beer, wine and cordials.

The cafe on South Main Street, in the new Love Building developed by Steve Duprey, opens earlier in the morning than Gibson’s. Zinser said some customers have wondered how to get inside for coffee before 9 a.m., when the bookstore opens its doors.

“Our entrance is right off the front lobby” of the Love Building, Zinser said. The lobby doors are in the middle of the building’s facade. The sliding glass doors that look into the cafe – they’re not an entrance, Zinser said. They will eventually connect the shop to an outdoor patio.

Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., customers can enter the cafe through Gibson’s Bookstore

“Right now, we’ve been opening at 6:30, and we’re just testing the waters,” Zinser said. “We might end up switching it to 7.”

Multicultural celebration

Concord’s multicultural festival is coming back for its eighth year this weekend.

Food, performances and exhibits will fill the area in front of the State House on Saturday afternoon from 3 to 7.

Performances will include dancing, singing and drumming from around the world, according to a press release about the event.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit nhmulticultural

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

A previous version of this story misstated the address of YoYo Heaven. It's at 132½ N. Main St.

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