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Business

Kernohan’s Toys Closing Shop in Downtown Santa Barbara After 62 Years

Iconic local store is closing its doors in February as Internet competition takes its toll

Kernohan’s Toys in downtown Santa Barbara is shutting its doors in February. Click to view larger
Kernohan’s Toys in downtown Santa Barbara is shutting its doors in February. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The giant stuffed teddy bear in the downtown Santa Barbara storefront window at Kernohan's Toys has been with replaced with "For Rent" signs.

After 62 years in business, the local toy shop that has delighted and served generations of Santa Barbarans is shutting its doors.

The last day for customers to buy items from Kernohan's Toys will be in mid-February.

Store owners announced on their Facebook page last week that the mom-and-pop operation at 18 W. Anapamu St. will be going out of business.

Gretchen Brinser, co-owner of Kernohan's Toys, said the Internet is dwindling traditional brick-and-mortar store sales, and smaller toy manufacturers are being bought up by mass-market retailers.

“I’m not interested in being a high-priced boutique or an outlet for licensed products,” Brinser said. “We had the flavor of a real, local store.”

Brinser said there’s also a small selection of toys being made for older children because of the shift to digital.

“A lot of toys are dwindling,” Brinser said. “Our selection of toys we like is getting smaller."

Kernohan's carried BRUDER​ toys, Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway products, live butterfly kits and build-a-bird-feeder kits, musical instruments, ZOOB building sets, PlasmaCar, Calico Critters and a handful of product lines.  

The large brown bear in the store window was made by German-based toy company Steiff and brought to Santa Barbara in 1954, when the store first opened, Brinser said.

“We haven’t figured out where the bear will go,” Brinser said. “I get a lot of requests and I'm trying to find a good home for him.”

All merchandise is discounted 20 percent off, and sales are final.

“We are grateful to Santa Barbara and making this place a great place to work,” Brinser said.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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