How virtual school has helped local toy shop owner stay in business amid COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While the pandemic has forced this Chestnut Hill toy store owner to lay off her staff, back to school virtual learning has helped Busy Bee Toys survive.

Owner Nerice Kendter has shared her love for children's toys, serving families throughout Chestnut Hill and Doylestown, Bucks County.

But in light of all the recent effects on small businesses amid the pandemic, Busy Bee Toys was in jeopardy of permanent closure.

"It's been such a whirlwind," said Kendter. "From this closure, not knowing how long I would need to be closed and then figuring out that I could begin to do some curbside service."

Kendter says while both of her locations were closed, she began FaceTiming, emailing and communicating with customers any way possible.

"People wanted to shop with me," she added.

Puzzles, along with other educational items for young children soon became very popular online.

Which then provided Kendter with in-stock valued resources among home-schooled families and those situated temporarily with virtual learning.

"I started doing the curbside pickup with puzzles, then as the conditions changed and we were permitted to reopen, my staff were able to return," said Kendter. "But folks are so happy that we're open and they can come in and shop here."

Kendter says there's a common misconception surrounding small shops like Busy Bee Toys being overpriced, compared to online retailers like Amazon.

She explains that isn't always the case and untrue in most item comparisons.

While Busy Bee Toys was able to survive, adjusting to online and curbside pickup, Kendter says it doesn't mean much if here neighboring stores can't survive either.

As she states, the time to support small businesses is more important now than ever.

"If Busy Bee is the only one left standing, and the rest of the Avenue decimated, it's a losing situation," said Kendter. "My goal is for Busy Bee to prosper, but everyone else in our community to prosper as well."

Kendter says for that to happen, people need to come and shop small businesses in their local area such as Chestnut Hill.
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