While shopping for holiday gifts, I popped into Kip’s Toyland and met with Don Kipper, son of the owner, Irvin Kipper. Don has taken over the operations of the store now that Irvin has retired in his late 90s.
As Don wrapped a few of the toys I purchased for my daughter, he shared some interesting stories about the history of the store that has been in the Farmers Market since 1956.
In 1945, Irvin Kipper returned from WWII and opened his first toy store with wife Gertrude in the Town and Country Shopping Center across the street from the original Farmers Market. When the space opened in the former “Dell”, they moved.
“The hottest toy after the war were balloons, due to a rubber ration during the war,” said Don. “My first job at the store was tying string onto balloons.”
Growing up around the Farmers Market, Don fondly remembers getting fresh ice cream from Gill’s ice cream, pancakes at Du-Par’s and BBQ from Bryan’s Pit Barbecue. “I used to see movies at the Drive-In on the corner of Third Street, where Nordstrom’s now sits at The Grove,” said Don. He also enjoyed watching the Hollywood Stars play baseball at the Gilmore fields.
Don remembers his dad going to the national toy shows to keep up with the new trends. “In the 90s, the Yo-yo and Beanie Babies were popular,” said Don. “Also Cabbage Patch dolls and Lego’s.“
The store has never sold video or computer games. “Our toys encourage children to interact with other kids and their family,” said Don. Customers come into the store to find toys for their children that they enjoyed playing with when a child.
“Our store reminds adults of their childhood,” said Don.
Now Kip‘s Toyland is located in the original part of Farmers Market. With the holidays approaching, shop local at the oldest family owned toy store. At Kip’s Toyland you will find classic and vintage toys and games. They offer complimentary gift-wrapping with each purchase. 6333 W. 3rd St. #720, (323)939-8334.
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