I hate shopping. Am I the only one? I abhor spending money on gifts that fail the toddler test when we really need a new dishwasher and/or a second top shelf margarita on Taco Tuesday. So in that regard, Christmas stinks.
I walk into ToysRUs and panic. What is all this crap? Why is it singing? How much of the world does Disney actually own, percentage wise? Will my four year old niece care about this horse drawn pumpkin carriage at all? Maybe my kid thinks it’s hilarious, but he’s not an expert on his cousin’s play preferences, and we all know how particular kids can be about toys.
(Once I bought my digger obsessed two-year-old a digger he could sit on and use the bucket shovel thing and he screamed his head off. GTFO, dude. You love this digger. It’s amazing. He didn’t though.)
So when I walked into Roflcoptor on Newark Avenue last week, I did it reluctantly. About five steps in, I was delighted.
The store is clean and organized; the toys are varied and unique. They don’t smell like the derogatory practices and attitudes that elevate profit at the expense of quality. And, as if sensing my misgivings, the woman behind the counter engaged with me (and my son), suggesting age-appropriate toys and ideas within my budget. She even let my son try out the “blaster” he wanted to see if he could work it. She was wonderful. The whole experience was so easy.
When I reached out to Roflcoptor’s sole owner, Carolyn Hoberman, I absolutely understood why the store was as lovely as it is. Because Carolyn Hoberman and her husband Chuck Hoberman were toy manufacturers for FIFTEEN YEARS annnnnd they created THIS!:
You might recognize the Hoberman Sphere from (your own toy box or) the lobby at the Liberty Science Center where they have one that’s 700 pounds, opens to 18 feet in diameter and is so dynamic & massive that it requires weekly maintenance. If there’s a more relevant and timeless toy, I don’t know what it is.
Carolyn Hoberman moved to JC three years ago, and “saw lots and lots of children but no good Specialty Toy Store.”
“It’s been a dream of mine to have a retail toy store,” she told me, but it “took a while to find the right space. My biggest surprise was the wonderful support the JC government has provided. We had a wonderful grand opening October 1st attended by many notable city officials. The next weekend, Mayor Fulop, who was walking in the Columbus Day parade, stopped by to say “hello.” I’ve found parents to be super positive. Jersey City is a great place to start a small business!”
Dreams do come true. Welcome to Jersey City, Roflcoptor!
Visit Roflcoptor at 298 Newark Avenue seven days a week, 11pm-7pm. (Note that shop closes at 6 on Sundays.)
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