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Beattie’s Toy Barn's appeal reaches far beyond Tyrone

10 January 2019

A toy shop doesn’t seem like a natural diversification for an animal supplies business but M Beattie and Sons Ltd have responded to a gap in the market to successfully make that transition.
At a time when many multinational toy shops have closed, Beattie’s Toy Barn in Corrick have bucked the trend since their official opening in 2014 and have exciting plans to expand their product range and launch an online business.
Jamie Beattie is a joint owner and manager of the store who offer a wide range of farming toys, clothing, wooden farms and accessories and have customers all over Ireland and beyond.
“Back in 2013 a few of our customers began asking for a selection of farming toys so myself and Jill the office manager began searching for a supplier,” he recalls.
“After we found one, more and more customers began to request the toys in the run up to Christmas so we decided to refurbish an old Barn we had attached to our main shop in Corrick and set up a permanent outlet in April 2014.
“The business has gone from strength to strength since then, we started off with a few items in the Siku range along and a couple of ride on toys from Rolly and now we have a product range of hundreds.”
Their relatively remote location near Plumbridge has not been a hindrance to the growth of the business over the last few years proving that it you have a unique offering, customers will do what it takes to source your service.
“Surprisingly we have had no problem with our rural location,” Jamie continued. “Even with people traveling from Monaghan and Belfast to view our range.
“At the start I did worry about bringing in so much stock but we’ve stuck to the mantra ‘If you don't have it, you won't sell it’ and this has given me the push to order items that are a little different.
“Our customers keep us on the right path and always tell us what they would like to see next, this is how we have grown from just a few items to a large range from all different brands.”
Beattie’s have ambitious plans to widen their customer base by going online in 2019 and are expanding their Corrick premises.
“We are in the process of setting up a website but it is a very long and slow process,” he noted. “Hopefully it will be ready for Christmas 2019 as it is usually our busiest time of the year.
“We are also hoping to extend the show room for Rolly ride on toys and we are planning a few bigger things alongside this
The wider M Beattie and Son business is one of the longest established rural businesses in the Council area and will this year celebrate its 70th anniversary.
Jamie’s advice for anyone considering setting up their own business was to take the plunge if they have the passion to make it work.
“As we run alongside M. Beattie and son we always have a steady stream of little farmers in to see what they can ask Santa for each year, we will be having an open day / BBQ to celebrate our 70 years of doing business this year which will be a very big day for us with 100s of people passing through all day.
“If anyone asked me for advice now on setting up their own business I would tell them to go for it.
“I never thought we would have our own toyshop in this line of business but here we are today going from strength to strength.
“If you have an interest or passion in something you will make it work.”
For more details about how Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business Support teams can help existing, start up and prospective businesses go to http://www.derrystrabane.com/businesssupport.