Long Island toy stores offering curbside pickup and socially distanced shopping

When it comes to holiday shopping for kids, the show must go on. And so the pandemic has expanded customer service at many Long Island toy stores.

Vanessa Cruz, manager of G. Willikers in Locust Valley, says her staff are now using FaceTimes with customers to allow them to shop virtually with personalized attention. “We literally walk around the whole store showing them different things,” Cruz says. “They’ll say, ‘I’m looking for something for a 7-year-old girl who loves crafts.’ Sometimes they want to see what the box looks like.”

For people nervous about heading to a toy store this holiday season, more than a dozen mom-and-pop locations across Long Island offer shopping by appointment or FaceTime, call or order in line for curbside pickup and/or deliver to out-of-town recipients.

“I would try to do my best to be as helpful as possible,” says Steve Goldfarb, owner of MJ Beanz in Plainview. Other owners and managers echoed this sentiment. Here are some of the local store plans for the season:

TOY STORES IN NASSAU COUNTY

G.Willikers

In addition to FaceTime, G. WIllikers will offer shopping by appointment Thursday through Sunday during additional hours after the store officially closes. They will also offer a gift registry to allow other parents to shop online for a child. They even had people stand outside the store as staff members showed them gift opportunities through the window, Cruz says. (22 Forest Ave, Locust Valley, 516-671-3335, gwillikersgifts.com)

MJ Beanz

MJ Beanz will dedicate 90 minutes a day just to helping customers shop over the phone. The store, which normally closes at 6 p.m., will close at 5 p.m. and staff will answer or return customer phone calls until 6:30 p.m. so they can focus on helping people, Goldfarb said. “I think the best thing to do is set aside some time to do it,” he says. Then customers can pick up curbside at their convenience. The store offers toys, games, puzzles, Legos, crafts, children’s jewelry and more. (345 South Oyster Bay Road, Plainview, 516-827-7700, mjbeanztoys.com)

fantastic toy

Owner Alex Kuvish won’t just take a phone order and credit card payment and transport the items to your car for contactless curbside pickup, he’ll help you shop from your car. Call ahead and let her know what you’re thinking. “I’ll pick out a few items, take them to the car, and they can choose,” he says. “If there’s not something they like, I’ll come back and choose something else.” The store features Star Wars merchandise, board games, puzzles, Barbies, action figures and more. (5288 Merrick Road, Massapequa, 516-882-9250, fantastictoyage.com)

awesome monkey

Funky Monkey will offer shopping by appointment in 20-minute blocks from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and also for a few hours after normal store closing, owner Stanley Greenman said. Shoppers would know there might only be one other group of shoppers in the store at the same time, he says. “A lot of customers like to touch the product and hear about it,” he says. Funky Monkey also created a new website this year with hundreds of items people can select online and then pick up curbside, Greenman says. The store will also take phone orders for curbside delivery. (360 Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale, 516-484-0966, funkymonkey.toys)

fun toys

The store was coincidentally working on a project putting 95% of its offerings on its e-commerce website when the pandemic hit. “It went really well, getting the site up and running,” said Lynn Feitzinger, director. The site offers the option of shipping, curbside pickup, or in-store pickup. For curbside, customers will receive an email when the order is ready and can come at their convenience to have items put in their trunk. The store will also take orders over the phone. (3639 Merrick Road, Seaford, 516-409-8697, fstoys.com)

Magna Mindz

The store offers FaceTime shopping and curbside pickup, says owner Sunny Dahra. “They tell us, ‘I’m looking for presents for a two- or three-year-old child… Usually people know what they’re buying. If they want puzzles, we take them to the puzzle department,’ he says. . The store offers toys from top brands such as Mattel, Hasbro, Lego and many more. (380 West Old Country Road, Hicksville, 516-226-3336, magnaminz.com)

Imagine Toys

Customers can FaceTime the store to shop or order over the phone and pick up items curbside, says co-owner David Ganjian. The store serves newborns through age 13, with items from major companies such as Lego, Mattel and Fisher-Price, as well as educational toys and workbooks, says Ganjian. (44 Atlantic Ave, Oceanside, 516-792-3331)

Matty’s Toy Stop

Matty’s offers curbside pickup for orders that can be placed over the phone. “We can suggest ideas, and we can take their credit card over the phone,” says Patrick Collins, managing director. A member of staff will bring the purchase to the trunk of the buyer’s car. (1530 Peninsula Blvd., Hewlett, 516-295-2555; 284 Sunrise Hgwy., Rockville Center, 516-634-0030; 19 Covert Ave., Floral Park, 516-358-4010)

SUFFOLK COUNTY

Einstein’s attic

Staff members will FaceTime with customers to let them see potential selections, says owner Lori Badanes. The store has also created a catalog site where people can shop for gifts for curbside pickup or free shipping on Long Island. Additionally, online users can create a wish list for their child and share it with out-of-town family members to make it easier for everyone. “Everything will be packed and labeled and ready for the holidays,” says Badanes. The labels will say “To Sally, Love Grandma” or “To Sally, Love Aunt Vivian”, for example. “No one is forced to go out and buy Sally a present,” says Badanes. (79 Main St., Northport 631-261-7564, einsteins-attic-northport.myshopify.com)

learning tower toys

If customers know what item they want, they can place an order over the phone and staff will deliver it to their car, says owner Marjorie Goh. “They have to know what they want,” Goh says. The inventory is too large for staff members to randomly help customers shop over the phone, she says. Learning Tower stocks educational toys. (4747-26 Nesconset Hgwy., Port Jefferson Station, 631-928-2040, learningtour.com)

LI toys and games

“We have a website; they can order online and choose in-store pickup,” says owner Bill Stewart. Payment is via PayPal or Square, or people can pay with a credit card or cash upon arrival. Call the store to schedule a curbside pickup time for the items. “We offer a good mix of new and vintage,” says Stewart. “If we don’t have it, we can order it from one of our distributors, or search for it if it’s vintage.” (12 Main St., across from Kings Park Station parking lot, Kings Park, 631-546-5334, litoygame.com)

cow on the moon

Need a gift for a 6-year-old child, for example? Call the store and get help choosing something, says owner Brian Drucker. The store includes free gift wrapping, and staff members can deliver the item to your car or ship it to you or the recipient. The store sells Lego, remote control cars, dolls, games, Paw Patrol merchandise and more. It also offers sports memorabilia. (282 Main Street, Huntington, 631-424-1796, toysonmainstreet.com)

Stevenson Toys and Games

Both locations offer curbside pickup, as well as local delivery between Southampton and East Hampton for a $25 fee. They can also ship items, says owner Roy Stevenson. “We’re a full-service, old-school classic toy store, so we do it,” he says. The store will also help customers shop over the phone if they are asking for advice for a child of a certain age and interests. (69 Jobs Lane, Southampton, 631-283-2111; 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 631-527-7222, stevensonstoys.com)

Goldsmith Toys and Electronics

Customers can make an appointment to enter the store before opening or after closing, says owner Kathy Halliwell. They can also place orders over the phone and have them delivered to their car or home. Staff members can also email or text photos of items, and the store has option photos posted on its Facebook page, Halliwell says. The store features Lionel trains, puzzles, games, dolls, stuffed animals and more. (128 Main Street, Greenport, 631-477-0466)