Argosy Toys goes viral in appeal to Essex shoppers

15th September 2021
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

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A Westcliff toy shop has appealed to shoppers to support local businesses as they struggle against ‘the tide of Amazon’.

Argosy Toys owner Paul Wohl, 49, took to Facebook to encourage parents to buy their Christmas gifts locally rather than buy from online retail giants. 

The post has now gathered over 750,000 views, 11,000 shares and 2,500 reactions. 

In the post, Argosy Toys, which was established 75 years ago, wrote: “Please remember us this year if you need toys for Christmas. Really swimming against the tide of Amazon these days. 

“They make billions in profit and pay a tiny percentage in tax. I employ 7 local people and pay all due VAT and tax that funds our NHS.

“We regularly help out Southend Hospital Neptune Ward and Great Ormond Street Hospital via the Elsie’s Elephants campaign.”

Wohl has been working at the family business since 1987 and has been the owner for the past 17 years. He said: “Every Christmas, I remind the general public of little shops and that we do good things. 

“We like to raise a lot of money for charities like childrens’ hospitals. We do that without expectation, but by shopping with us, this is how we continue to support their hospitals.

“There are still a very large percentage of people that would hate to see all the shops disappear. There are people that remember going into toy shops and want to carry on.

“We opened up this morning at 9 o’clock and it’s been like Christms Eve all day. We’ve been so busy.

“Everybody is talking to us at the counter about what they’ve seen on social media. They’re all saying: Amazon is so easy but we want our children to come here and see thousands of toys.

“Part of me feels guilty for blowing my own trumpet, but if you don’t do that, who’s going to do that for you?”

Olivia Costin, from Southend, commented: ​​”I deleted the Amazon App last year and will no longer be playing a part in lining billionaire’s pockets. 

“It’s so important that we all continue supporting small businesses and the local economy, and also that we pay in cash.” 

Nelson Eddy, from Wickford, added: “This toy shop was my favourite place when I was younger. I’m as guilty as most others, I totally forgot you were there. 

“I’ll bring the missus and her boy for a visit before Christmas. Obviously I’ll have to treat myself to some Lego while I’m there!”

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