Lakecity favourite Realm of Toys has secured two top 10 nominations in the B.C. Small business awards just in time for Christmas.
Owned and operated by mother-daughter team Jazmyn and Joan Douillard, Realm of Toys has quickly ingratiated itself within the community over the last five years. As Williams Lake’s only dedicated toy store, they’ve enjoyed great success especially after their move to the heart of downtown and their frequent involvement with Downtown Williams Lake.
“I was working from home,” Jazmyn said. “I came into town one day and walked into the Book Bin and saw it was for sale and kind of on a whim we bought it the next week.”
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Joan agreed, adding that, since the move, a lot of “old faces” have found them again alongside far more “new faces.” While she finds the work challenging and hectic, both she and Jazmyn agree it’s fun and rewarding.
Indeed, fun is the basis of their business model as Jazmyn said they want both running the store and shopping at it to be a fun, unique experience, emulating the feel of the classic toy store.
“It’s forever changing, we have new products coming in all the time,” Joan said. “We basically want everyone to come in and have fun. We treat people the way we’d want to be treated and if you’re not whistling and happy, we’ll try to make sure that you are.”
This year around the holiday season things have been so hectic that Jazmyn and Joan had forgotten about the nominations and had not encouraged any of their customers to vote for them.
“Somehow we still made it into the top 10 of two categories so we’re pretty happy about that,” Jazmyn observed. “One is Premiere People’s Choice and the other one is Best Company.”
They are up against what Jazmyn calls some “relatively major players” in the small business world from Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and Prince George. To have been nominated and made it into the top 10 with the support of a small town like Williams Lake is awesome, Jazmyn said, as it gives them an opportunity to “play with the big guys.”
“Knowing that people voted for us is fantastic. If it wasn’t for everybody coming in and saying hey we’re good (it wouldn’t have happened),” Joan said adding, “the customers are the most important part, without them we wouldn’t be where we are.”
Jazmyn confessed that, with the holiday season, she’s yet to look at the paperwork for the next steps in this process but said they gave her and the other nominees a deadline of Jan. 7 to submit the paperwork. From there she said the organization will take a comprehensive look at Realm of Toys.
“At this point, we’re just really grateful that so many people voted for us,” Jazmyn added. “Even if we don’t win, we’re happy we’ve gotten as far as we have. Thank you, just a big thank you for supporting us.”