UPDATED: Toy Boat Closes

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The iconic Toy Boat store in Corona del Mar all boarded up on Monday. — Photo by Charles Weinberg
The iconic Toy Boat store in Corona del Mar all boarded up on Monday. — Photo by Charles Weinberg

After a difficult year, the Toy Boat store has finally sunk, as the iconic Corona del Mar toy shop shutting it’s doors for good on Friday.

Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat owner, Lori Curtin, made the announcement Sunday evening in an email.

“It is with a heavy heart that after 20 years in business, we have decided to close,” she wrote. “Unexpected recent events have forced us into this decision.”

“Unfortunately, we did not have the necessary capital to stock the store to our satisfaction or our customers,” read a note signed by the Curtins and posted on the toy store’s door after the shop was boarded up on Friday.

“Due to the actions of very aggressive creditors, it was a forced decision,” Curtin later explained.

The cash mob, holiday season and gold fundraiser, all helped, Curtin said, but they didn’t receive much cooperation from the creditors.

The note posted on the door of the shop. — Photo by Charles Weinberg
The note posted on the door of the shop. — Photo by Charles Weinberg

“As you can imagine, this is heart breaking for us,” continued Curtin, who owns the store with her husband, Mike. “We did everything we could to stay afloat and have put our lives into our beloved toy store.”

The lights on the toy drum sign at the storefront nearly dimmed for good last summer when business was down.

The Curtins had to close the three other Toy Boat locations during the first half of 2012, and were considering closing the original CdM shop last July due to financial troubles.

“We tried our very best to keep this store open and continue moving forward,” the note reads.

“It’s been a really tough ride for us with the economy,” Curtin said in July.

After an announcement in July 2012 that the store was in financial trouble and may have to close, a “cash mob” was organized by the radio station, KFI.

About 300 customers flooded Toy Boat on July 31, and they had an increase in local customers over the weekend. The store netted more than $9,000, Curtin said at the time.

“Gratefully, we were blessed with the KFI Cash Mob (a promotion by KFI radio to drive customers to the store), the local support of the community, as well as support from our friends and family to continue forward through the holiday season,” Curtin said in January.

The holiday season went well, Curtin said previously. They were even able to do a Toys for Tots promotion and gave a 15 percent discount during the CdM Christmas Walk. They collected more than three large boxes of toys for the organization during the walk event.

The Toy Boat also signed on as a gold sponsor for the Spirit Run again this year and donated prizes.

But the store was still having financial troubles in January and decided to host a “Cash for Gold” fundraiser on Jan. 24 to try and stay afloat.

The fundraiser was aimed at helping pay off  a “baggage of debt” and help with their upcoming storefront rent increase, Curtin had said in January.

Financial hardships with the store had forced Curtin to take a second job with LA Gold Parties in August.

The event raised about $700 for the store.

All of these efforts have not been enough though, and Toy Boat finished it’s final day of business on Friday.

The last day was “overwhelmingly emotional,” Curtin said. “There were many tears.”

The couple appreciates all the support they have received from the community, Curtin wrote in the email.

“People are very saddened by the news,” Curtin said. “The outpouring of love and support has been so touching, although quite emotional for us.”

What little stock they had left has been returned to the vendors, Curtin explained.

The CdM Toy Boat has been in that spot on PCH for about 20 years, and another 30 at a location just down the highway. The Curtins bought the business about five years ago, which included all four locations in Newport.

Curtin said they are taking one day at a time and trying to stay positive.

“It will take a little time to heal,” she said. “To quote Dr. Seuss, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over…Smile because it happened.’ This quote is a reminder of how grateful we are to have been a part of such a wonderful store. We will truly miss it.”

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