Can’t see the wooden toys for the trees …

There are certain customer demographics that need to be considered.  A visit to the shop floor during an average weekday will show grand-parents, mothers and younger children all frequenting the store, whilst at weekends it’s more a family affair.

As the main decision makers on toys and gifts, women hold much of the buying power in the family, with men being responsible for choices in the higher priced garden equipment arena.

Toy companies, such as John Crane Ltd, are seeing an opening for extra sales to this market.  The toy market has a traditional Christmas sales peak in November/December, so garden centres help alleviate this seasonal weighting for any shrewd toy company.

Garden centre buyers who have so far not bought into this new market are missing out.  With up to a 50 per cent mark-up, toys from John Crane Ltd make a great add on sale to plant and garden equipment purchases. 

It’s an exciting new market for toy companies.  Sales and Marketing Director Keith Elmer commented: “Most of our garden centre customers are buying mid-priced items, anything up to about £40. Couple these with a good range of impulse-buy priced items and you have a good selection for new stockists to ‘dip their toe’ in to the toy market.”

John Crane Ltd is traditionally known for its wooden toys, but also supplies TOLO and TOLO Baby, which are high quality plastic and plush. 

The multi-award winning PINTOY Collection is eco-friendly, being made from Rubber wood from replenishable sources.  PINTOY toys include such exciting toys as the Creative Blocks – it’s so much more than the average construction toy!

There are 52 pieces in the set, each sporting vibrant colours.  More traditional shapes such as the cylinders and cuboids are joined by a delightful array of quirky shapes that help to make everything from a zigzag body of an alligator to the wattle of a crazy turkey!

What’s more, the set even includes animal head shaped wooden blocks, so children can recreate animals that they have seen at the zoo – or just come up with crazy combinations of their own!

Branching Out is the firm’s own brand collection – with a gift to suit all pockets. The chunky puzzles such the Chunky Safari and Farmyard Puzzles have adorable graphics and a broad appeal, whilst the ABC Board teaches the alphabet in a simple yet colourful way!  Branching Out’s Sorting and Teaching Clock is a best seller, with shapes, colours and numbers to learn, but, the fun is in the magnets which ensure tiny tots can carry the clock without losing a piece.

There’s also a super collection to place by the till from George Luck. George Luck wooden puzzles are a collection of delightful laser cut tray puzzles.  The attention to detail is astounding and only made possible by the way the wood is cut. The addition of bright colour washes also adds to the traditional appeal.

With animal, vehicle and map puzzles the range has it all, plus with a suggested retail price of between £6 and £8 on average they are an excellent impulse purchase.

In addition, the TOLO Baby range is ideal for offering customers the chance to buy that extra special gift. The new Woodlands Collection offers sleep-time solutions featuring fresh packaging in new colourways, all with a forest theme. 

Red, spotty toadstools and delightful bunnies provide the main imagery for the collection, whilst soft peaches, sky blues and sunny yellows all add warmth. The outer packaging is complemented by soft TOLO tissue paper, which gently wraps the gift within.

The adorable gifts include the charming Toadstool Musical Cot Toy that can be wound up to play a gentle lullaby, so baby drifts to dreamland.  Featuring a bunny with blue dress, this red toadstool will keep baby’s attention inside the cot as the bunny turns slowly round and round.

Along with bedtime friends Basil Bunny and Bella Bunny, the two plush twin rabbits, this Collection also includes every baby’s favourite – the Woodlands Comforter. This charming blanky with its flower, toadstool and toy rabbit in a little pocket is sure to stay by baby’s side, soothing all night long!

A stunning range of product is not all that John Crane Ltd has to offer.  Orders are fulfilled within a matter of days making them the ideal trading partner for a busy centre. What’s more, customer service is second to none, with a huge spares department and quality control, all toys are guaranteed for life.  Retailers can be assured that they are supported in every way by John Crane Ltd, and can even benefit from PR and marketing from a dedicated in-house team!

Potential new customers will find ordering easy, to open an account call 01604 77 49 49. Orders can be placed over the phone, fax, e-mail and now through the John Crane Ltd website on

There is also a showroom at the Northampton offices where the ranges are on show throughout the year and the team encourage customers to come along and play!

All available from