Less than an hour earlier, Matthew Purdy was bent over the bathroom sink of a near-empty store front, washing drywall particles and dust out of his hair and attempting to make himself presentable for the imminent Langley Advanceâ€™s annual Best of Langley awards ceremony.
He called over to his sales manager Lyndsay Potesta, asking her to bring him a fresh Toy Traders shirt. And, by the time he was done, his frantic and haggard state wasnâ€™t even apparent as he and his four-member posse pulled up to The Redwoods Golf Course for the event.
Purdy, owner of Toy Traders and GameStars, has been a repeat offender â€“ if you will â€“ at these Best of Langley awards.
This year alone, Langley Advance readers voted to give Toy Traders three top honours: best toy store, the most fun place to shop, and best collectibles store; as well as the runner-up position for the family entertainment and specialty gift store.
This yearâ€™s awards mean even more to the 39-year-old Langley entrepreneur, than ever before. Purdy just recently went public with his plan to expand his business â€“ in time for his 40th birthday and the storeâ€™s 20th anniversary â€“ and itâ€™s the same customers who vote for his company in the Best of Langley awards each year, who have made it possible â€“ and in fact, driven the demand for him â€“ to grow his business, he said.
Now, anyone who has set foot inside Toy Traders before knows it is an incredibly cool place, with toys and collectibles packed floor to ceiling, plus some of the most amazing dioramas and collectibles Iâ€™ve ever seen. My jaw dropped to the ground the first time I entered this store.
So, imagine Toy Traders on steroids.
For Toy Trader fans like the ones we find in my family, check out the online version of this story for more about Purdyâ€™s cool plans.
In the meantime, stay tuned to Tuesdayâ€™s edition of the Langley Advance for more from the Best Langley awards.
Purdy is almost tripling his floor space in the strip mall immediately south of his existing operation (between Natureâ€™s Fare and Princess Auto). Work began Aug. 1.
In addition to building, tearing down, and moving walls, thereâ€™s a lot more going into renovating this space.
Heâ€™s constructing a life-sized Star Wars Probe Droid, a new and more complete Death Star, and a life-sized Hans Solo in carbonite and Boba Fett photo booth (to complement the existing C-3P0 and R2-D2 figures).
Plus, heâ€™s planning a bigger trade and used toy section, a special gift-wrapping and balloon department, and display space for the complete collections of all the existing toy lines.
Whatâ€™s most exciting for all us who admire this store, there will be more cool, displays and dioramas to ogle.
â€œThe important thing for me, as the store keeps growing, that we keep the fun warm atmosphere of the store,â€ Matthew said.
I can hardly wait to see it.
The move is being phased in, with the gaming from his GameStars and collectibles being moved over to the new location first and ready to open in late October or early November.
Then, to coincide with the storeâ€™s 20th anniversary, Purdy will open the toy section in March.
â€œWhen I started that old store, it was a little too big,â€ Purdy said, finding that hard to believe now.
Working 10 to 12 hour days now the renovations, Purdy has confiscated a few of his warehouse staff to help transform the 14,000 square foot space into the ultimate toy and game store.