Takoma Park toy store focuses on ‘the playful at heart’

Fair Day's Play
Fair Day’s Play is located in Takoma Park, Maryland. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)
Fair Day's Play
Stepping foot inside Fair Day’s Play can transport many visitors back to their childhoods. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)
Fair Day's Play
Fair Day's Play

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Running a local toy store can be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience, especially when it offers a unique blend of nostalgia, creativity and community engagement.

That is the atmosphere at Fair Day’s Play, a toy and game store along Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland.

“We’re always trying to find different ways for families to come together or for different age groups to come together and have fun,” said Lisa Ripkin, the store’s owner. “We also sell things for an individual to work on themselves, which includes workbooks for kids.”

Stepping into Ripkin’s business can transport customers back to their childhood.

Seeing both children and adults smile as they explore shelves filled with toys, board games and puzzles is a heartwarming experience, Ripkin said.

Unlike larger retail chains, local toy stores can handpick items that reflect their own passions and the interests of their customers. It’s a personal touch that creates a distinct shopping experience.

“We focus on the playful at heart, which could be all ages,” said Ripkin.

People in the community often go to Ripkin’s store when they’re searching for a birthday present, and that is one of her specialties, according to her son, Eli.

“My mother is the best with helping people pick out gifts,” Eli said. “She knows every customer we’ve ever had and what they’ve bought since the beginning.”

Just recently, the business just started allowing customers back inside after about three years of being an outdoor store because of the pandemic.

“We wanted families to be able to come with all their kids and not say ‘sorry three of you have to stay outside,'” Lisa explained.

Now, things are looking like they’re back to normal.

“Seeing the store with customers in it is a big relief for me,” Eli said.

During the pandemic, the mother and son duo sold items on tables outside. Sometimes, they even went above and beyond and delivered orders straight to customers.

“One time, this couple wanted a rare game that we had, and we actually met them off a highway exit and sold it to them in a parking lot,” Eli said, laughing. “That’s the extent that we go to here.”

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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