by Jeremy Jones
“Toyland, toyland. Little girl and boy land. While you dwell within it, you are ever happy there.” Though written in 1903, the lyrics of the popular Christmas song, “Toyland,” ring true today – especially for Marsha Konialian, who said she wanted to open a toy store because “Toys are fun, toys are great and toys are happy!”
Konialian, a former teacher, brought Oxford Circus Toys to Chestnut Hill because she felt “people here are truly interested in this community.”
Reminiscent of New York City’s FAO Schwarz and Hammacher Schlemmer in their heyday, Oxford Circus, at 8127 Germantown Ave., is a microcosm of both: a fairytale playground for every little girl and boy and an enchanting retreat for grownups who will rediscover their childhood joys and want to share the wonder of them all with their own children and grandchildren.
Flushed with an international flare, Oxford Circus carries items made from around the world – from classic to modern, from eco-conscious to non-toxic, from pointedly educational to delightfully imaginary.
Sumptuous selections and happy memories are at your fingertips: A toy train set from Plan Toys (Thailand) – its motto is, “Better kids for a better world”; Ever- popular and colorful wooden pull toys will tickle-a-giggle, from HABA (Germany); A soft felt circus bag with wee characters inside is perfect for a long car ride, from En Gry & Sif (Scandinavia); A preteen fashionista will enjoy designing her own bracelet, from Sugar Lulu (USA); “Hansel and Gretel” and “Rapunzel” Story Boxes will provide hours of make believe, from Steve Light (USA).
Also look for the charming “Princess and the Pea” doll lying atop her multi-mattress bed, from Maileg (Scandinavia), and the must-have, must-touch Cuddle Bear made of impossibly soft 100 percent sheepskin, from Elks & Angels (Australia).
Oxford Circus’ eclectic inventory is targeted for children from birth to 12 years of age (and the kid in all of us). Chemistry sets, artists’ tools, books, puzzles, tutus, dress-up clothes, big-wheel tractors and dump trucks reside in every nook and cranny of what could very well be a fairy godmother’s castle … and “while you dwell within it, you are ever happy there.”