Visions of Toys and Chocolate 13

Tulsa Toy Depot and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are already preparing for a busy Christmas

Ryan McAdams and his father, Dan McAdams went into business together when they opened their Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise at 101st Street and Sheridan Road in 2010.

Though Dan McAdams passed away in 2014, Ryan McAdams still credits him with the inspiration to open up Tulsa Toy Depot the next year.

“A toy store is definitely what he would have wanted to be next door,” he said.

Together, the stores have been a great success for the southern part of the metro area. But things are about to get even busier for McAdams and his employees, as both stores gear up for the Holiday season.

McAdams said he prides himself on finding toys that are high quality, frequently educational and hard to find in your typical big box store. But finding them takes time and effort.

That’s why McAdams traveled in June to the toy show for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, or ASTRA. The event didn’t just give him the opportunity to learn about the best new innovations arriving this Christmas season, he was able to get insights about their creation from the source.

“I was sitting down and talking about how the products were developed by the people who created them,” he said.

Armed with that knowledge, he plans to boost the Toy Depot’s selection of toys and books to 4,500, or 50 percent more than he had for Christmas 2015. Though the Christmas shopping season traditionally doesn’t begin until November, he plans to have his full holiday inventory on shelves for parents and children to browse by the first week of October.

Though sales of everything starts to pick up in the first week of November and continue to build as Christmas nears, he points to building sets and traditional wooden toys as the ones that get the most holiday interest. And for each category, he’s got a prediction for the top-sellers.

Among building sets, he feels Tegu will stand out. Tegu looks like regular wooden blocks, but each one has magnets hidden within that allow blocks to hold together. These colorful blocks come in basic shapes or specially-shaped pieces designed to make vehicles, robots or other shapes.

The Christmas Star from Afar set may seem like a more traditional wooden block set, but the recreation of nativity scene characters is just the start of the fun for children.

An included book recreates the story of Jesus’ birth, and includes a game that can be played all through December. Each day, parents can hide the included Christmas Star to a new location, while children have to find them and move the Three Wise Men to its new location. On Christmas Eve, the star goes to the nativity scene so that children can discover baby Jesus on Christmas morning.

Though the holiday season is big for toys, it also gives the chocolate side of McAdams’ business a boost as well. Sales of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory toffee and fudge soar during Christmas, but one product stands out — peppermint bark.

“You can only get it during Christmas,” he said. “And I think it’s the best thing we sell.”

The gift of chocolate is a popular one for corporate customers, as companies can create their own gift sets with unique assortments of chocolate offerings. For those who want to get extra-extravagant, the company can create chocolate bars with corporate logos stamped on them.

McAdams said that, together, his chocolate and toy stores bring something fun for the growing south part of the metro area to enjoy.

“One of our main missions was to create a community meeting point,” he said.

One of the biggest events held by the stores will be their annual block party, to be held October 16 from 4-7 p.m. Among the many games and features will be a variety of inflatable activities, including inflatable archery, an obstacle course and an inflatable boxing ring. There will also be face painting, temporary tattoos and prizes, including a $50 gift card to Toy Depot and a 10 pound bar of chocolate.

The event will be free to the public.