Toy shop chain secures NPIF loan to continue growth story

A Yorkshire business which is one of the UK’s largest independent toy shop chains has secured a £400,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The funding will boost Toyland’s purchasing power and enable it to expand stock levels after the company took a lease on a new warehouse in Bradford. Based in Otley, Toyland was established in 2014 by husband and wife team Gordon and Amanda Walker.

The couple now have ten stores across the North including Blackpool, Darlington, Doncaster, Halifax, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Kendal, Scarborough and Skipton. They currently employ 59 staff and expect to create several new jobs once the new warehouse is fully operational.

Gordon, who is managing director, has almost 30 years’ experience in the industry, having started his career as an apprentice in his father’s toy business, Conways, in Keighley. He says: “Despite the growth of online retailing, nothing can beat the magic of a real toy shop. Children and parents alike still enjoy the excitement of visiting a store, where they can see and touch and the products at first hand.

“This finance will provide additional working capital to enable us to manage the seasonal fluctuations in trade, and buy stock in larger quantities at better terms to support our continued growth.”

Gary Whitaker of Mercia added: “Gordon has a strong reputation in the industry that allows him access to all the major brands. He and Amanda have built an impressive business that continues to achieve consistent sales and growth. The funding will enable them to strengthen the business and improve efficiency so they can continue to delight their young customers for years to come.”

Keira Shepperson, Director at British Business Bank, said: “The success of Toyland is evidence that people still appreciate the traditional toy shop experience, and, with this funding, the business will be able to continue its position as one of the most well-known toy shops in the North. Job creation gives people the chance to expand their opportunities and also breathes life into local economies, aligning with one of the key objectives of NPIF in delivering a thriving Northern business environment.”

Taryn Preen and Andy Redman at brokers ABL Business provided fundraising advice to the company.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.