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'What a difference a year makes': Ingleside toy store survives pandemic, celebrates 15 years

William's Fun Smart Toys has a lot to celebrate

MACON, Ga. — Ingleside village is home to William’s Fun Smart Toys, a neighborhood toy store owned by Florence Allen and her husband.

Like most stores last year, they closed due to the pandemic, but the doors that were once closed reopened to more support and its 15th year of business.

“What a difference a year makes,” Florence Allen says with a smile as she reflects on her journey over the past year.

The store owner relied on friends, community, and social media to get her over the slump of closing the doors last April.

“It was amazing to me to the number of regular customers who were very concerned about us and wanted to be sure and support us, but also the ones who reached out to their friends and said, 'Hey, I got this at William's store,'” Allen says.

In a time where online shopping reigns supreme, Allen gives customers all the credit. Amy Rowley, a longtime customer, believes supporting local businesses during the pandemic makes all the difference.

“It was more important to shop local as opposed to shopping at large box stores,” Rowley says.

William’s isn’t letting the opportunity to celebrate their success of staying in business during the pandemic slip away. This weekend, the toy store will be giving back to the people who made it possible—the customers. This Friday and Saturday, they’ll have discounts, giveaways, and a book signing.

You can find William’s Fun Smart Toys in Ingleside Village in Macon.

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