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Best Of 2012: Toy Store

You drink microbrews, frequent farmers markets, and wear beanies spun from local, gently harvested alpaca fiber. When it comes to toys, then, why would you go mass-production? You wouldn't. You would, instead, go to Little Richard's Toy Store, the section of the Poor Richard's emporium where, as co-owner Richard Skorman puts it, "three-quarters of the customers might be under 5 years old, and laughing." Over 17 years, Skorman and company have cultivated relationships with small manufacturers and distributors who make toys that "have a purpose," and often an educational link. The place (which still makes sure to stock the classic Slinkies, Erector Sets, etc.) teems with energy and inspiration. Make sure you're signed up for the birthday club, which gets you sizable discounts once a year. — Kirk Woundy

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