Artwork from area elementary school children is draped above the youth and young adult section pinned to a clothesline. Bright posters sing the merits of being a child surrounded by books. Wooden toys, puzzles, learning mats, arts and crafts kits, stuffed animals and puppets line lower shelves.
The Green Toad is more than a bookstore. In addition to the toys and children’s items, Barry offers cards, candles, scents and soaps. There are locally made scarves, jewelry, handbags and artisan crafts at the counter.
On the opposite wall hangs a small gallery of work from a local artist.
“There is so much art and culture here,” Barry said. “We are lucky to live in such a diverse place. Our cultural diversity is good to see.”
Barry said she is comfortable with her retail neighbors. The Green Toad sells tickets to events and shows for local businesses, and she will send a customer to another shop if she knows they have the item the customer wants.
“If I don’t have what they are looking for, and I know who has it, I’ll send them there,” Barry said. “And I know they do the same thing.”
The Green Toad sells more than just books, as it has to in this economy. The markup on books alone will not pay the bills.
In an attempt to capture and expanding market and offer a service to her customers, Barry has a link to her supplier on the Green Toad Bookstore website. The site is as inviting as the store, offering clear information in a pleasant setting.
“I am also getting ideas from my intern,” Barry said. “She has come up with some fresh insights and ideas on how to reach out on the Internet.”