After writing this morning about a local fundraising effort to save beloved Edwardsville store Once Upon a Toy from bankruptcy, Daily RFT received word that the initiative has been an overwhelming success. And it appears now that the small business will stay afloat after a crowdsourcing effort in less than a week easily surpassed an initial $75,000 goal.
"I can't believe what has just happened! This entire process has been epic and fairy tale like!" Once Upon a Toy owner Shawnta' Ray wrote on Facebook today. "This story is actually about a group of people who worked together to make something happen out of love, not just about a small business who was gifted a second chance."
How did residents save the toy store? Details below along with our original coverage of the fundraising effort.
Through an online Crowdtilt campaign, the initiative to keep the toy store alive, has raised more than $80,400 as of this writing, which means that the local mainstay will stay in Edwardsville.
The story and the push for donations went viral after supporters came up with $25,000 in less than 24 hours.
Here's the owner's full message followed by our original coverage.
O.K. - Deep breath! We just got back in the door from, guess what? ...a Game night ;) I can't believe what has just happened! This entire process has been epic and fairy tale like! We're totally humbled by the support of our family, friends, employees, customers and other local businesses. None of this could have happened without you. This story is actually about a group of people who worked together to make something happen out of love, not just about a small business who was gifted a second chance. I wish the entire country could see what you've accomplished. Hopefully this shows the fragility of local businesses and the importance of the community choosing to support them. You people have made a powerful and important statement!
I just wanted to extend some promises to everyone: We promise you a happy place to come on rainy days! We promise you feel you are appreciated as customers everytime you are in our store! We promise to walk cautiously with this gift of a chance and to do our best to not let you down! We realize the oppurtunity we have been given and are not going to take it for granted. As always "DO TOUCH, DO PLAY!" remains the motto!!
Now where are we going to put that big ruber chicken?
Continue for our original coverage.
Original post, 7 a.m: Once Upon a Toy: After 24 Hours, Supporters Raise Over $25,000 To Save Edwardsville Shop
Will Once Upon a Toy have a fairytale ending?
A lot of residents and businesses in Edwardsville, Illinois and beyond hope the beloved toy shop doesn't have to shut its doors for good -- and to show their support, they raised more than $25,000 in just 24 hours of fundraising. And the number has since grown dramatically.
"It's amazing that a toy store has had that kind of impression on the community," Sara Colvin, who is volunteering her time to do marketing for the effort, tells Daily RFT. "We were just floored. I think we can really do this."
Why is the toy store at risk of permanent closure?
Last month, Once Upon a Toy had its loaned called by the bank -- which meant that the store might have to file for bankruptcy.
So the owners -- a local company called Happy Up Inc. which owns Once Upon a Toy and LagoonaMagoo Toys in Clayton -- closed down normal business hours on Saturday and haven't opened their doors since.
In response, supporters set up a Save Once Upon a Toy and LagoonaMagoo Facebook group and soon after launched a Save the Toy Store! fundraising effort through the website Crowdtilt. The target goal through that online effort was $75,000 -- which they easily surpassed last night.
Continue for more on the fundraising effort and more photos.
"It's just snowballed," says Colvin, who lives in Glen Carbon and whose friend has taken a lead in helping raise money. "So many generations have been touched by this store."
Once Upon a Toy, she says, has been around for decades.
"Every kid knows that store," Colvin says. "It's the 'purple toy store.'"
And it stands out from the chain stores as a locally owned business where people can hang out and kids can play. Even if it can't stay in its current location, Colvin says that the store's supporters are determined to keep it in Edwardsville.
"It's an icon," she says.