‘Love Child’: A toy store for kids of all ages, especially grandmas

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Ten years ago, Siobhan Winters was working for Deva Wagner at Wolf Creek Gallery, a staple of the downtown shopping scene in Lewisburg. 

“Grandmas were my best customers,” Siobhan confesses. “I’d plop down in the floor and get them whatever shoes they wanted to try on. Older women don’t get the sort of attention they deserve.” 

Wolf Creek also included a small children’s store upstairs, which Siobhan went on to manage for four years. 

“I had no idea I was a kid person,” she reflects. 

But she loved the kid’s retail experience so much that she bought “Love Child” from Deva and opened it as a separate store right down the block. 

“It’s the American Dream,” Siobhan beams. 

And now she spends every day with her two favorite types of people–grandmas and kids. 

Where dreams come true

Siobhan says kids walk inside the store and tell her, “This is exactly what my dreams look like.” For her, it’s the biggest complement imaginable.  

“They save their money all year to buy something,” she shares, “and I’m sobbing as I’m checking them out.”

So she keeps stickers by the register which she gives away to her kid customers. 

“I don’t have to sell anything; oxytocin does all the sales,” she says with a smile. 

“Oxy-what?” I ask her. 

“Oxytocin,” she replies. “It’s the happy hormones inside us. Kids imagine themselves playing with something or grandma imagines Johnny playing with something and that’s it–happiness.”

But it hasn’t always been rainbows and giggles. In ten years, Siobhan has experienced challenges. 

‘I survived by adapting’

After she bought the store in 2018, things were going great. Sales were good, customers were excited, and then…the pandemic struck. 

“I survived by adapting,” Siobhan recalls of the time when her store was closed. “Grandmas would call me with a theme. Then I would make an Easter basket for their grandkids from things in the shop and deliver it to their porch.”

She said without those loyal customers, she wouldn’t have been able to survive. “Some particular ladies made sure I stayed open.”

In addition to doing deliveries, she utilized a pandemic-era grant to create an online shop. 

“About 10% of my business is online,” she comments, saying she ships across the country. “There aren’t a lot of kid’s stores, and I have lines that are hard to get.” 

Toys galore 

Siobhan has a little bit of everything. From Easter dresses to books to pranks to stuffies, Love Child is immaculately and liberally stocked with toys. 

She emphasizes West Virginia products and envisions a large mural on the wall in the near future of West Virginia heroes.

How does she choose what to buy for the store? “I go with my gut,” she says. 

She attends an annual trade show in New York City, called The Toy Fair, sales reps come to see her at the shop, and she also finds things online. 

“Tiktok!” she exclaims. “Oh the Tiktok! It’s a great place to see toy trends.” 

For example, Jellycat–a line of stuffed animals that began a few decades ago. “The kids who got these when they first came out are going to college now, and they take them to college too!” 

Or the bamboo pajamas. “Bamboo?” I ask. “What do they feel like?”

She directs me to pair in the store, and they are the softest thing I’ve ever felt. 

“They probably feel familiar, because your mom bought some for your son,” she informs me. 

And that’s how it goes with Siobhan. She knows your kids and your parents better than you do.

‘Hugs are important’

Photo by RealWV

Love Child is so much more than a store. It’s a child’s dream come true. It’s a grandparents paradise. It’s a platform Siobhan uses to raise money for the local food pantry. It’s also a safe space where people feel comfortable enough to share their innermost thoughts. 

“People share their stories with me–their pregnancies, when they lose babies, they tell me everything,” she says. “We cry, but they leave with hugs. Hugs are important.” 

Hugs (and toys) are available at Love Child Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday from 11am-3pm. Visit them online at www.lovechildlewisburg.com or find them on Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok.

Siobhan Winters does it all at Love Child. When we stopped by to interview her, she was rearranging the display window for Easter. Photo by RealWV.

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