Nordica -- a wonderland of toys for 30 years
Updated 2:29 pm, Thursday, May 5, 2011
Marie McCarthy is keeping alive a New Milford village center tradition.
The owner of Nordica Toys for the past eight years is maintaining the vision of the store's founders, Christian and Aviva Trost.
Celebrating its 30th year in business, the Main Street store still strives to be the place to go for unique toys aimed to delight the child in us all, she said.
"It has an absolutely great selection," said Gretchen Lammers of Wingdale, N.Y., as her son, Wyatt, 4, and daughter, Oliva, 2, sorted through the shop's small windup toys.
"They've got unique toys, things you can't find anyplace else," she said with a laugh. "We could spend hours here. In fact, when we come in, it's hard to get the kids out again."
Mrs. McCarthy bought Nordica in 2003 as the Trosts were retiring after 25 years in business. The couple, then in their 70s, sold their home and moved to New Jersey. Both died in 2008, Mrs. McCarthy said.
In the fall of 2001, the Trosts had moved Nordica to its present location. They had opened 19 years before on Bank Street after selling their Scandinavian imports business in New Jersey and moving to the Greater New Milford area.
Nordica soon became a Bank Street landmark.
Walking into the store was like entering a fantasy land filled with Scandinavian trays, vases and bowls, as well as hand-crafted puzzles, games and toys.
When they moved the store to 7 Main St, the Trosts discontinued some of the gift items available in other area stores. They donated those unsold items to the Thrift Mart and continued carrying the toy line.
"I still carry 95 percent of the toy line that the Trosts were when I bought the store," Mrs. McCarthy said. "I've added a tremendous amount since then. The new items came from the store's traditional suppliers, Manhattan Toy, Playmobil and Lego, among them."
From bright ceramic piggy banks to little shoppers' cloth grocery bags with smiley-faced apples, bananas and lettuce heads inside, the shelves of Nordica are packed with whimsy.
Mrs. McCarthy estimates she has some 10,000 items in the store. She's kept the inventory simple, still doing it by hand as the Trosts were when she came to work for them in the summer of 2002.
"I came to work here with the informal agreement that I was going to buy," she said. "I was a manager at Stew Leonard's in the cake department at the time and looking for a change."
Like the Trosts before her, Mrs. McCarthy gives generously to local charities and not-for-profits, she said.
"I give to at least 20-plus local groups annually," she said. "It's good to do. It helps the kids.
"I've had a lot of fun since taking over Nordica. It's an old fashioned toy store where old-fashioned toys meet new toy lines," she said, "unlike a box store with a toy department where you can't find anything unique."
Nordica, at 7 Main St., Suite D, in New Milford, is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call the store at 860-355-2034 or visit www.nordicatoys.com or the Nordica Toys Facebook page.