Toot Toot Toys in Bentleigh East is more than just a toy shop, it’s also a meeting place for play dates and for parents to have a coffee.
It started as a speciality Thomas the Tank Engine train shop for kids, and it was a place Carly Kohler and her two young sons would frequent.
Carly was a lawyer for 12 years, and has two boys aged 2 and 4.
She was working long hours, commuting to and from work.
“I was trying to work out how I could change my hours within the law, but couldn’t find a way to do it,” she said.
“We came to Toot Toot lots because my boys were obsessed with trains.”
One night she saw that Toot Toot was for sale, and pitched the idea to her husband.
“I had always talked about having a shop, as my dad was in retail for 60 odd years,” she said.
“We saw Toot Toot as an opportunity for us to have a lifestyle change and be able to spend more time with the boys“.
Carly and her husband Bart took over the shop in September, and they’re excited to take the shop in a new direction, particularly with high quality wooden and educational toys, as well as a range of eco products.
She’s passionate about finding great quality products, but is also conscious of making sure the products are affordable.
Toot Toot’s recently undergone some renovations in the play area.
There’s activity cubes, dress ups, train sets set up and a little shop too to keep the kids amused.
She said she loves the idea of providing an outlet for parents.
“Parents can actually sit down and enjoy a coffee whilst being able to see their children at all times,” she said.