Readers' Choice Winner

Best locally owned toy store: Shananigans Toy Shop

For The Baltimore Sun
Shananigans voted best toy store

As any kid will tell you, toy stores are great. And Shananigans Toy Shop is one of the best.

The shop – a Roland Park fixture for years – is cozy and welcoming, with a selection of toys guaranteed to surprise and delight. In every corner, toys and games beckon, promising hours of fun, creative play.

“I like to think we’re different, not a traditional toy store,” says owner David Stelzer. “We do carry normal stuff — blocks, art supplies, games and Barbies — but we also carry stuff like older games and ‘weird’ novelty household things.”

The store is full of nooks and crannies and is creatively arranged so it feels as though there’s a surprise waiting around every corner. One shelf might hold a collection of brightly colored stuffed animals; across the way, unusual board games wait for their ideal owners.

Stelzer prides himself and the Shananigans staff on their ability to find the perfect gift for everyone, from a new baby to a hard-to-shop-for nephew. It’s fun, he says.

“Helping people find stuff is my favorite thing,” he says. “I try to help customers find exactly what they are looking for, then wrap it up.”

Stelzer’s enthusiasm for toys and their perfect homes is contagious — he makes shopping, whether it’s for a friend, your child or even yourself, a lot of fun. When birthday-party season hits and you’re shopping for every one of your child’s friends, a little levity is more than welcome. One visit to Shananigans and you’ll never buy anyone a gift card again.

But even if you’re not shopping for a gift, a trip to Shananigans is an entertaining way to spend some quality family time. The unusual selection wows both kids and parents … and being surrounded by so many great toys just feels good.

"It’s like running a candy shop or ice cream store," says Stelzer. "It just has that vibe."

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