A for sale sign is up at a longtime downtown Owen Sound business.
The Rocking Horse toy store, which has been located downtown for 43 years, is for sale as owners Deb Haswell and Dianne Mattice plan to retire in September. It is listed with Ron Hopper Real Estate at an advertised price of $75,000.
Haswell says the decision to exit the business has nothing to do with the pandemic. Simply, both her and Mattice had for a long time targeted 2020 as the year they would move on.
"It's always been 2020 for us. We've got other interests we'd like to pursue," Haswell says. "It's a fun business to be in and we've loved every minute of it. It's like a dream to (sell toys for a living). I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's been an amazing time."
Mattice opened The Rocking Horse in 1977 in a small location on 8th Street East. As Haswell tells it, about five years later the toy store re-located to the corner of 8th Street and 2nd Avenue, around the time she joined the business. The Rocking Horse then moved once more in 1987 to its current location at 843 2nd Avenue East.
The Rocking Horse is the longest running independently-owned toy store in Canada.
Over the past 43 years the downtown toy store has changed and evolved. Haswell says it was originally a shop with only wooden toys and primarily handmade products when Mattice first opened in 1977. Then as demand increased over the years it shifted and new product lines were featured to meet consumer preferences. Haswell says the business has also changed to develop its online presence more in recent years, launching a small online store.
"We're excited for a new owner to find this opportunity," Haswell says. "It's a good business. We've certainly built up a solid business. There's a great opportunity for new, young energy to step in."
Haswell wants to thank all the staff and customers who have supported the toy store over the past four decades.
"We've just been delighted to be such a part of their families," she says. "We will miss seeing them immensely. Yet, I think we will still be seeing them in a lot of different capacities around town going forward."