Downtown Concord yo-yo store to close: ‘We’ve basically become a showroom for Amazon’

  • The soon-to-be-closed storefront of Yo-Yo Heaven is seen in August. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • The storefront of YoYo Heaven on Main Street in Concord announcing that Saturday is the last day the store will be open. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Dan McBride plays with one of the modern Duncan yo-yos in Yo-Yo Heaven in downtown Concord on Thursday. The store will close Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 8/22/2018 11:42:30 AM

After six years of moving around downtown Concord, Yo-Yo Heaven has run out of string on Main Street.

The skill toy store will be closing its storefront this weekend and moving strictly online, said co-owner Andy McBride. Its last day is Saturday.

McBride said the decision to close the store was formally made earlier this month but has been looming in the face of falling retail sales and competition from Amazon. He said it became apparent that a change was needed when the store’s Christmas sales – one of two big toy seasons, he said, the other being summer – were “nowhere near” previous years. By contrast, online sales have been steady, he said.

“The physical presence basically becomes a money pit,” he said.

McBride said visitors have come to the store from far and wide – including some from upper Maine, New York and Canada – just to check out their puzzles, board games and high-end competition yo-yos. Part of the draw was allowing customers to try out yo-yos before buying them since a high-end rig can cost $100, McBride said.

“People will say, ‘this is great, this is what I’m looking for, this is an awesome store, now I’m going to go buy it on Amazon,’” he said. “We’ve basically become a showroom for Amazon.”

The father-son business itself has been around for 15 years and twirled between three places downtown. It started at the former Vegas Block, popped over to 35 S. Main St. in the plaza next to Constantly Pizza, and then moved to its most recent location two years ago.

McBride said he’s enjoyed his time on Main Street, but worries about other eclectic stores going away. Chickadee Lane Interiors closed their retail storefront on Saturday to pursue an online/pop-up shop style, and Bead It is set to close Aug. 31 unless a buyer materializes.

Main Street “is turning into banks and places to eat,” and that threatens the amount of foot traffic small stores rely on to survive, McBride said.

“As the market changes, the complexion of Main Street is going to have to change to match it,” he said.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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