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Ennis toy store gets shop window on RTÉ


AN Ennis toyshop will feature in a brand new television show airing this week on RTÉ.

Little Ones on Parnell Street, in the county town, which specialises in traditional wooden toys and children’s gifts, is among the stores to appear in The Toy Shop which airs on RTÉ One on Wednesday evening at 9.30pm and again on Christmas day on RTÉ 2 at 8.45pm.

The programme has been made by Atom Films, the makers of the acclaimed Older Than Ireland, Abbeyfealegood and The Irish Wedding.

Fiona Ryan, owner of Little Ones, told The Champion she was delighted to take part in the programme and to be able to share the joy that toy shops can bring into people’s lives.

“I was contacted by Atom Films to take part in the programme, I don’t know how they found out about us but I think originally they were looking at doing a programme on toys in general, then they wanted to focus on independent businesses and we are one of 16 shops to feature.”

Recalling the filming she said, “I was nervous, obviously, to begin with, but it was a great opportunity and there was no way I could turn it down.”

The Toy Shop sees the programme makers sit down with the people and places that spark the imagination of their youngest customers, and the memories of their eldest.

This is a documentary about the fundamental, and sometimes underestimated, role of toys in our lives.

Business-owners on the show discuss the power of toys and the role they play in making our wildest dreams come true – from becoming a pilot, teacher, artist to opening a toy shop.

Fiona agreed that toy shops can be magical places for both the young, and the young at heart.

Speaking about her own store she said, “There is a nostalgia here particularly in the types of toys that we sell. I suppose it does relate back to what people played with themselves in their own childhoods.

“There is always great excitement with kids coming in and wanting things, and making Santa lists.

“I think our shop has a nice presence and a nice feel about it. The toys are there for people to see, and to touch and play with, and to see what they think of them. I think it is kind of a nicer feel than a shop with boxes piled miles high.”

First opened in Ennis in 2007 Little Ones is one of the youngest businesses featured in The Toy Shop, but is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and successful of them.

After becoming a mother Fiona had the idea to open a shop that stocked toys primarily for young children.

With three kids under four – aged 4, 3 and 11 months at the time – she created a business plan, secured a loan, a retail space and stock in the space of a matter of months.

Since then, the business has only grown and, as with other shops, the website took off in earnest during the pandemic.

So successful has it been that Fiona has had to secure a warehouse space out of which the online business is being run separate to the original shop’s business.

The main drive has been, and continues to be, to supply customers with high quality toys at affordable prices that provide strong play value that spark the imagination.

In addition to toys, Little Ones also sell their own baby range “Millie and Me”.

Fiona and her daughter Millie designed the full range of bibs and organic cotton babygrows which has become a huge hit online and in-store.

While the show had yet to air, when we were speaking to Fiona she told us she has already been inundated with calls and texts from people looking forward to watching.
She herself has yet to see any of the programme.

“I haven’t even seen the trailer. I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing it, and I think it will be great to see what the other small businesses are doing as well and how they have managed last year. I think it will be a really good insight into that.”

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