What's old is new, and fun, again
Toy makers update classic games; parents share them with their kids
It's been decades since Mastermind, a board game based on code breaking, became a hit for Manhattan-based Pressman Toy Corp. So President Jim Pressman has been thrilled to see spinoffs like Ultimate Mastermind and children's stacking game Animal Mastermind Towers take off recently as the 1970s brand experiences a resurgence.
Fueling its growth? Nostalgia. “Parents remember the game, trust it and want to introduce it to their kids,” says Mr. Pressman. With 10 employees in Manhattan and 25 in New Jersey, the company expects $40 million in sales in 2010.
The International Toy Center at 23rd Street and Broadway may be long gone, but New York's toy industry has held up remarkably well.
As the industry becomes increasingly global, many of the companies that continue to thrive here are riding three key trends, says Richard Gottlieb, chief executive of USA Toy Experts, a consulting firm based in New York, and publisher of Global Toy News, an e-zine for the toy and play industries.
Like Pressman Toy, some of the dozen-plus toy makers that remain in New York are profiting from parents' desire to share the toys they loved as children with their own kids. Thanks to a campaign that Hasbro, the maker of Monopoly, has run since 2008, some are also tapping into the popularity of Family Game Night, a time for parents to connect with their children over favorite games.
And with some consumers showing early signs of video-game fatigue, local makers of dolls, puzzles and board games are happily supplying alternatives.
According to the NPD Group, a market research firm, U.S. retail sales of video games in 2009 were about $19.7 billion, an 8% decline from 2008.