One of the few remaining independent toy shops in the country is celebrating 18 years of business.
Silly Billy’s Toy Shop was started in 1997 by owner Bill Deakin to serve the local community, as Hebden Bridge did not have a local toy shop.
Silly Billy’s was opened in the historic Bridge Mill, which is where the shop remains today.
Lego and Playmobil are two of the major brands stocked at Silly Billy’s, but the shop retains a wide range of more traditional products including marbles, chess sets, spud guns, slinky’s and skipping ropes, which many customers say they have not seen for years.
Despite some economic hardship which has occurred primarily as a result of large internet retailers and large supermarket chains stocking toys, Silly Billy’s has managed to stay afloat while many other independent toy shops have been forced to close down.
Bill believes a key factor in the shop’s success is that it is located in a town which actively promotes independent retailers and attempts to keep the larger corporates at bay.
He said: “We strive to offer a service to the community in which I make a living rather than make a killing, by operating in this way we survive.
“We price competitively and stock a wide range of toys and games.
“It is more important to us to look after our customers rather than put in place such practices as minimum card payments and plastic bag charges; we look after our staff as well and we are not simply a revenue generating business.
“It has not been easy to maintain this stance in an economic climate that is as challenging as it recently has been, but we are an innovative retailer, always bringing in new products and altering our ranges.
“We could not survive without the loyalty of our customers in and around Hebden Bridge as without them we would not be here.
“After 18 years our customer base has grown dramatically, not just locally but further afield as well.
“We would like to thank them all very much.”