Somer Kingsbury, co-owner of Who’s Toy House, is doubly fortunate: running a successful business enables her to do what she loves while also helping others in need. “It’s more important to support your local community than make pennies on the dollar,” she says, a philosophy that inspired her store’s toy donation program.
The Who’s name is familiar with generations of Rapid City residents, who have been shopping at Who’s Hobby House since it opened in 1959. Somer and her husband Clancy run both stores and are very involved in giving back to the community that has supported them for so long. Their toy donation program involves repurposing demos and donating them to good homes. Given their short shelf life – most demos are on display for three to six months, with Somer frequently switching out products—the toys are in pretty good condition, requiring little more than a bit of cleaning (and an occasional minor repair) before they are ready for donation.
Many local charities and nonprofits have benefitted from the Kingsbury’s generosity. Groups such as Catholic Social Services, the OneHeart and Care campuses, Club for Boys, area church nurseries, and others have been the recipients of donated toys—some of them brand-new. Somer credits strong vendor relations that allow her to buy products at reduced rates and distribute them to needy organizations.
The Who’s Toy House donation program is only the tip of the iceberg for Somer and her husband. Their community involvement extends to the annual Toys for Tots and Salvation Army toy drives, PTA programs, school classrooms, a camp for children with diabetes, the library’s summer reading program, and more. Every Friday, they donate an item for a silent auction.
Regardless of your success, Somer says, “You should be humble and support the local community by doing all you can.”
Who’s Toy House is certainly doing their part!
WORDS BY MARK PETRUSKA
PHOTOS BY JESSE BROWN NELSON