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Toronto mother starts company that sells toys for significantly less than retail price

Stacey Greenberg alongside a selection of Ode to Toy's wares (Courtesy of Stacey Greenberg) Stacey Greenberg alongside a selection of Ode to Toy's wares (Courtesy of Stacey Greenberg)
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Stacey Greenberg was working a corporate job when the pandemic hit but, within weeks, found herself laid off and looking for a new venture.

A mother of a toddler, Greenberg had previously taken issue with the amount of packaging and rampant consumerism that came with purchasing new children's toys.

“The amount of packaging around toys shocked me when [my daughter] was born — we got deliveries from Amazon and they would be a box in a box in a package and plastic-wrapped,” Greenberg told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. “The waste just kind of drove me wild.”

“I was also quite surprised at how quickly little kids go through things — either developmentally or just because they lose interest — my daughter has the attention span of a tsetse fly,” she said.

With newfound time on her hands, Greenberg said she wanted to revolutionize how parents could buy their children toys in Toronto.

So, in April, she launched Ode to Toy.

“Ode to Toy is a website where we sell preloved and new kids toys, books and sporting goods for up to 70 per cent off retail prices,” she said. “Everything is under $100 and ready for your kids to love.”

Greenberg says she tests all the toys, completes all the puzzles and lego sets to make sure pieces aren’t missing and sanitizes everything before it goes out.

Ode to Toy also features baby bundles, which include six to eight items, curated by age and developmental stage.

“I worked with an [early childhood educator] to do that and make sure everything's developmentally appropriate,” she said.

Based out of St. Clair Avenue West and Dufferin Street, Ode to Toy isn’t just a way to purchase childrens’ toys on the cheap — the company will also buy your preloved items for cashback, store credit or as a donation to a local charity.

“They can choose to donate their money to one of our charitable partners that we work with and, if they do, I will kick in an additional 10 per cent,” Greenberg said.

In the past, those donations have gone to organizations such as the Children’s Book Bank, Sistering and Birth Mark.

Since launching, Greenberg says she has seen a welcoming and positive reaction to her company.

“People really love the idea,” she said. “I think, as new parents who are money-starved and time-starved, this really checks off boxes.”

As for Greenberg, she is finding value in matching children with new-to-them toys and supporting her community.

“I really feel it's important that everybody has access to quality toys that don't break the bank [and] that make our kids happy,” she said.

“If I can do even a little bit to help families feel some joy, that brings me joy.”

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