D&A Toys on the move after almost 50 years in The Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham

A toy shop which has been in a shopping centre for almost 50 years is moving after concerns it would be forced to close.

D&A Toys is relocating from the top floor of The Pentagon in Chatham to a new unit on the ground floor.

Manager Lee Richman outside the shop
Manager Lee Richman outside the shop

The popular shop, which has been in the centre since it opened in 1975, will be moving into the old Carphone Warehouse, opposite card factory and near to the High Street entrance.

A number of businesses are having to move downstairs because the top floor of the building has been earmarked for a healthy living centre.

When people heard about the plans, D&A Toys manager Lee Richman said customers were worried they were closing.

The shop holds lots of fond memories for many. Lee said he and his mum Alison,who also works there, have served several generations of the same families.

The shop has been in its current unit since the 1980s
The shop has been in its current unit since the 1980s

"I see people come in with their children, who I served when they were kids, he explained.

"And my mum sees people with their grandchildren who have been coming here since they were children."

The shop has been at its current location since the 1980s and before that was in another unit on the top floor. They expanded into the shop next door, which was D&A Sports, around 25 years ago.

Over the years they have seen many toy trends come and go – from easy bake ovens and Spriographs when they opened in the '70s, to Cabbage Patch dolls and Rubik’s Cubes in the '80s, and Tamagotchis and Furbys in the '90s.

The shop has seen many toy trends come and go - including china dolls
The shop has seen many toy trends come and go - including china dolls
An old photo inside the store
An old photo inside the store

Recent popular choices have been fidget toys and Pop It boards.

When the shop re-opened after the first lockdown there were people queuing up outside before it opened who were on the hunt for Pokemon trading cards.

For many, D&A Toys is the go-to place for dressing up outfits so they are always busy around Halloween and World Book Day.

The stock often reflects the seasons – so they'll have paddling pools when a heatwave hits and sledges when it snows.

A delivery of sledges in February 2018
A delivery of sledges in February 2018
A Halloween window display in 2015
A Halloween window display in 2015

When snow fell last February, non-essential shops like D&A Toys were closed under Covid restrictions. So Lee's mum took their stock of sledges home to sell them from there.

Lee said: "We had all these people coming into her close in Hempstead to buy a sledge."

The independent business has done well to survive over the last few years – faced with challenges from big name competitors like Smyths Toys, as well as lockdowns and international shipping delays.

But moving to a new home is a challenge Lee is looking forward to.

Managers Lee and Alison Richman
Managers Lee and Alison Richman

He said: "It is a much smaller unit so it will be a tight squeeze. But we still plan to stock all the same things, we'll just have to do things a bit differently.

"There is much better footfall downstairs and it is a good location near the entrance. It is exciting."

The new shop is currently being fitted out and they hope to move in the next few weeks.

Until then, there shop is having a clearance sale to get sell-off some old stock.

You can follow the shop on Facebook.

Share this story

Helpful links

© KM Group 2022