Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s Toys will open a downtown branch, replacing the gift shop at the Tucson Children’s Museum, 200 S. Sixth Ave.
The 32-year-old local toy merchant at Grant and Swan roads will open at the Children’s Museum on May 21, said Lisette DeMars, a store manager.
Shoppers will not have to pay museum admission to go to the store.
“I’m superexcited about people who work downtown being able to buy Christmas gifts during their lunch hour,” DeMars said.
This collaboration transforms a gift shop into a full-fledged toy store, said Michael Luria, the museum’s executive director.
“That is not our core competency,” Luria said. “Our primary focus is not for the gift shop. (Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s) puts us in a superior league” compared with other children’s museum gift shops.
DeMars will stock the downtown store with similar educational, wooden and European toys carried at the 4811 E. Grant Road store.
“We’re having tons of fun planning for all the parties we can throw once we have a permanent space downtown,” DeMars said.
She hopes to have activities on the museum lawn such as bubble blowing and kite flying. Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s is an activities-oriented toy shop, she said.
Luria said gift shop discounts to museum members will apply at both Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s shops.
“They have the opportunity to move products back and forth between the shops,” Luria said.
The museum gift shop orders from 25 vendors, while Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s does business with 6,000 vendors. DeMars plans to triple the inventory in the 300-square-foot space.
Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s has had event collaborations with the Rialto Theatre and the Loft Cinema, and managers DeMars and David Correa were eager to expand to downtown.
“To be really honest, we started a whisper rumor,” DeMars said. “We said, ‘The Children’s Museum, wouldn’t it be cool if we could be there?’
“We secretly visited the gift shop. It’s a good gift shop, but gift shops is not what they do. Within a month, the rumor had made it to Michael (Luria). He said, ‘Can we have lunch?’ ”
The museum gift shop will be closed May 18-20 to allow conversion to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s, which plans to open May 21 before its grand opening event May 25.
Beginning May 25, museum and store hours will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.