ARCHIVED  January 1, 1998

Competition forces closure of toy store

Competition forces closure of toy store

Dennis E. Curran

Business Report Wyoming Bureau
CHEYENNE — A Cheyenne store that provided many children with their first teddy bears and later introduced them to the wonderful world of hobbies has called it quits, a victim of leakage to Colorado and competition from a big discount chain.
Collectable Creations owners Phil and Charlene Severson said after 15 years of never having a day off, they decided it was time to get out of retail and do something else with their lives, and they closed their store shortly after New Year˜s Day.
"It was a fun ride, and we have no regrets, but let somebody else try it," Phil Severson said. "My wife and I just got really burned out on it. We did everything we could think of, but there˜s no loyalty, and we got so frustrated."
Since 1983, Collectable Creations has been Cheyenne˜s main source of stuffed animals, doll houses, small collectibles and model cars, trains and rockets, but holding a loyal customer base has been a struggle.
Losing customers to stores in Colorado was a big part of their frustration, Severson said, as was fighting the perception that people could get better deals in Fort Collins, Greeley or Denver.
"That˜s not the way it is, but it˜s the perception," he said.
Equally frustrating was seeing customers buying model cars in Colorado and then expecting to race them on Severson˜s custom track or expecting him to service them.
But also a factor was competition from the nation˜s largest chain store, Wal-Mart, which Severson accuses of luring away customers with loss-leaders and cheap foreign imports.
"I˜ve really got a problem with them," Severson said. "Sam Walton said he was going to put every mom-and-pop operation out of business, and that˜s what has been happening."

Competition forces closure of toy store

Dennis E. Curran

Business Report Wyoming Bureau
CHEYENNE — A Cheyenne store that provided many children with their first teddy bears and later introduced them to the wonderful world of hobbies has called it quits, a victim of leakage to Colorado and competition from a big discount chain.
Collectable Creations owners Phil and Charlene Severson said after 15 years of never having a day off, they decided it was time to get out of retail and do something else with their lives, and they closed their store shortly after New Year˜s Day.
"It was a fun…

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