Just in time for the happiest season of the year, SSI Group, Inc., the no. 1 specialty retailer in the Philippines, brings the iconic toy brand Hamleys to the country with its first store in Central Square, Bonifacio High Street. With over 250 years of experience in bringing smiles and laughter to children, Hamleys Central Square, which opened last December 20 at Bonifacio High Street Central Square in Taguig, will be witness to familiar smiles and laughter that Hamleys is known for all over the world.
Growing up in Cornwall, England, William Hamley might have become a tin miner. Or a fisherman. But William had other ideas. He dreamed of opening the best toy shop in the world and in 1760, he did, cramming 'Noah's Ark' with every kind of toy, from rag dolls to tin soldiers. Families flocked to William's 'Joy Emporium'. So successful was the shop that in 1881 a new branch opened in Regent Street. To cope with the public's growing appetite for playthings, Hamleys added further five floors of toys!
Hamleys faced hard times in the late 1920s, along with everybody else. In 1931, the picture looked bleak and the shop was forced to close and its fleet of horse-drawn delivery vans was stilled. But this story has a happy ending. Walter Lines, the Chairman of the Tri-Ang company, bought Hamleys and worked hard to bring customers back. In 1938, his efforts were rewarded. Queen Mary gave Hamleys the Royal Warrant! Even being bombed five times during World War II did not stop Hamleys. Wearing tin hats, its staff served at the shop entrance, rushing in to collect the toys then handing them over at the door.
Arriving back to the present, we find Hamleys in its famous location at 188-196 Regent Street, London, England. Step over the threshold and you enter a world of joy and wonder. Over the squeaking, bleeping, whizzing and chiming of toys, you hear children laughing excitedly as they goggle at the sheer choice over seven floors of toys and games.
In the Philippines, a second toy shop is set to open next year to bring smiles and laughter to more Filipino children.From over 250 years ago, the toys may have changed, but the same delighted faces will be seen on anyone who enters the Hamleys toy shop –whether in Regent Street, Central Square or other parts of the world.
Hamleys Toy Shop is located at the 2nd Floor of Bonifacio High Street Central Square, Taguig City.