Local Toy Store Stands Strong in the Wake of Hurricane Irma
By Rachel Mann
Travis White and his wife, Sandi, bring a special solace to Avondale, a historic suburb of Jacksonville, Florida. Together they run a boutique toy store, The Green Alligator, a rare breed of its kind.
“I think we are now the only specially toy store left in Jacksonville,” said White.
What truly separates their shop from the rest, however, is the precision expertise brought to the table.
“[My wife] majored in elementary education so she understands the development needs of children from birth to you know ten, twelve, thirteen years old. They need a lot of pretend play, role play, reading, a lot of fine motor skills and gross motor skills so construction, arts and crafts and that’s what you’ll see around here is a lot of higher quality educational type stuff," said White.
Last week, in the throes of the largest hurricane Florida has seen in years, Avondale boarded up and held tight until late Monday afternoon.
“Well, the biggest fear is you could lose everything, so you know we sandbagged the door and took the door stands to the back just in case there was any raining or flooding,” said White.
While every shop in the downtown strip lost power, White battled the storm with high hopes and minimal structural damage.
“The biggest impact is obviously loss of sales you know, you’re a small business and when you have to close for a day or two that impacts your cash flow, and so that's impacted us from that perspective of four or five days without sales,” said White.
Despite the setback, The Green Alligator recovered with grace, assured in its position as a community staple.
White remarked on the shop's special services. “My wife is the expert. People will come in and say I need something for a one-year-old or a two-year-old and she knows exactly what they need at those developmental age levels. So, everything’s been great, we have a lot of community support."
White takes great comfort in knowing the good they do for those around them.
A smile on his face, White nodded with contentedness. “Some people come in here and they appreciate the things we have and sometimes it’s really funny some of the kids’ expressions, they can’t believe it when they come in here. And then every day at least one child is carried out of here kicking and screaming and we take that as a compliment.”