Main Street Merchant Profile: Pufferbellies

In a new series of blog entries, we’re highlighting Main Street merchants — the entrepreneurs who create jobs and care for historic structures in our traditional commercial districts. To share the successes of one of your merchants, contact Doug Jackson.

Pufferbellies, a shop specializing in top-notch service to the next generation of Main Street customers, offers a well curated selection of toys and books for children.

Occupying two store fronts on West Johnson Street in Staunton’s Wharf district, Pufferbellies makes it clear from the street what you’re going to find inside, both in the products offered and the attention to detail in merchandising.

In 2008, store owners Susan and Erin Blanton restored 15 West Johnson street,  one of the few buildings in downtown Staunton with original street-level doors, window frames, moldings and trim. Since its construction in the early 1900s, it’s gone largely unchanged, but it’s probably never been this much fun.

What Pufferbellies does especially well is engage the community–both online (1,500 people like their facebook page) and face-to-face, with great customer service and welcoming special events (free Wednesday Crafternoon activities anyone?).  At Pufferbellies, staff members know the children by name and they’ve got tips for just the right gift or party game. It’s enough to make you want to be a kid again, or at least play like one.

For some customer service and marketing tips from the Pufferbellies team, such as why they don’t have to compete with Target,  read this short  Toy Directory Online article.