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Bowens Toyland, Bedford, Mass.

For some reason, kids always seemed to behave at Bowens Toyland in Bedford, Mass.

I never saw anyone break a toy here, talk fresh to their parents or the owners, draw inappropriate things on the Etch A Sketch, send the water powered toy space rocket ship through the ceiling, or create bad words on any of the word-oriented board games.

I think I know why. First, parents, back then, generally had the temerity to say "no" to their kids, as needed, and that Bowens Toyland owners Ruth and John Bowen made everyone feel at home. Unlike the many disinterested, cell phone-addicted chain toy store employees of today, Ruth and John also came across like caring parents, prioritized customer service, spoke softly and thoughtfully, and clearly loved their career business choice. In another words, they were great role models themselves. They also lived in Bedford for a very long time, thus confirming their commitment to the community.

Having stopped playing with toys after graduating college (just kidding), I can't tell you exactly when Bowens closed as I went onto bigger and better things (Radio Shack became my new "toy store"). I do know, however, that Bowens opened in 1955 and stayed in business a very long time.

Bowens Toyland also had the best toy selection of any area toy store -- not the usual junk but a thoughtfully laid out display of popular and hard-to-find toys also an incredible selection of model kits. They sure jam-packed a lot of toys into a modest-sized, unassuming storefront.

Ruth and John are no longer with us. I wish I had a chance to say "Thank-you" to them for all the joyful years they brought us in the form of a toy store. They just don't make toy stores like this as much anymore, as well as store owners with such grace and goodness.


2 comments:

  1. This brought back some memories. I worked for John Bowen at Bowens Toy Land about 50 years ago as a hobby managrr. And many years before that my mom bought my very first Hopalong Casidy double gun and holster set. Thank you for making these memories possible. Bob Grinnell Kingman Arizona BobGrinnell@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. This brought back some memories. I worked for John Bowen at Bowens Toy Land about 50 years ago as a hobby managrr. And many years before that my mom bought my very first Hopalong Casidy double gun and holster set. Thank you for making these memories possible. Bob Grinnell Kingman Arizona BobGrinnell@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete

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