President’s Letter – June 6, 2017: Philly to Become Center of Specialty Toy Retail World This June

Amid another crazy-busy year for the business of toys, all attention in North America is rightfully turning to Philadelphia and the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) 2017 Marketplace & Academy, taking place June 25 to 28. For four days, specialty toy buyers and sellers will marvel over new products, hear fresh ideas, and network, while retailers will gain tools to help their stores and online platforms thrive.

Show-only discounts and high quality products are a big part of the Marketplace’s draw – but that’s only part of the story. ASTRA creates an overall immersive event that is part serious business, part serious learning, and a healthy dose of good old fun!

The show is invaluable for its educational programming. A range of speakers and workshops at this year’s event will cover timely topics, including breaking down gender stereotypes, business planning and marketing, social media tools, online selling, and the new sharing economy. And ASTRA's pre-conference Certified Play Expert Workshop (June 23-24) will “teach the research, language, and tools to support the science behind play,” allowing participants to become a Certified Play Expert in just two days!

We at The Toy Association believe deeply in the vital role and importance of specialty retail. And, as such, we’re huge fans of ASTRA – its members and the talented staff. Founded in 1992, ASTRA serves more than 1,800 independent retailers, manufacturers, and sales representatives. The group’s training and business services tailored specifically to the needs and interests of specialty retailers sets them apart.

Toy Association staff members are looking forward to attending this year’s show, supporting ASTRA, and connecting with the many wonderful people we see each year at our own North American International Toy Fair. We’re also honored to present a great resource for toy buyers and sellers,, via our booth in the Industry Service Pavilion on the Marketplace show floor, and excited to sponsor the show’s main hotel – the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

I hope our paths will cross later this month in the city of brotherly love for toys!

All good wishes,

Steve Pasierb

Follow me on Twitter @StevePasierb