For No Kidding owners, it’s time for a change

Jan 24, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — After 35 years in the same space as employees and eventually as owners of the No Kidding toy shop, Sue Hottel and Polly Henshaw have decided it is time to close up shop.

The two met at the store as employees and co-workers in 1984. In 2001 when the previous owners decided to sell the store, the two purchased it.

“We had already broken in one owner, and when they left we said, ‘why don’t we buy it?’” Henshaw said.

Both say that their favorite part of working at the store is working with the people.

In Hottel’s case it is, “the contact with people and really getting to know them,” though she also says that, “we’ve been fortunate with people who have worked for us.”

In addition enjoying the work with people, Henshaw said that “I love to buy toys, and right now I don’t have an excuse to. I see all this cool stuff coming through, and it’s killing me not to buy it,” Henshaw said.

All of the employees, owners included, work part-time. Hottel and Henshaw currently have two employees who help out on the store’s floor and handle restocking.

The two owners split duties to handle the managerial part of ownership. Henshaw, with her love of ordering toys handles getting new inventory.

Though it’s obviously a pleasure to order toys, modernizing the inventory is the toughest part of the job for Henshaw.

“Keeping up with the times and new products and trying to decide what is going to fly and what is not. Sometimes I say, ‘I love that, but it might not fly,” Henshaw explained.

Hottel, who Henshaw describes as “more detail-oriented,” handles the billing and financial side of things.

For Hottel, the worst part is “the endless paperwork, which we try to share. People say ‘it must be fun to work in a toy store. Out there,” she says, indicating the floor of the store, “it is, but not so much in the office here.”

Henshaw says that the layout of the store and its products haven’t changed over the last thirty five years, other that adding variety to the inventory.

Hottel agrees, with one exception.

“Our biggest category is books,” which the two didn’t initially sell. But, “we just started with selling books that had to do with the stuffed animals. Like we would sell the bunny from Goodnight Moon, alongside the book. And it took off from there.”

The two plan to vacate the space on or around March 1. A younger couple has made plans to come in and change the space, before selling a variety of children’s clothing, toys, stuffed animals, and books.

Henshaw says she will spend time after she retires gardening, and with her horses and dogs.

Hottel, who is an avid golfer, will “play some golf, for sure. I may travel, and spend more time with my grandson. But really, it’s just time for a change.”