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Second Childhood to change name to SC Toys

Barb Hollenbeck has been running Hastings' downtown toy store, Second Childhood, for 20 years. Now, as her business begins its 21st year, she's changing up the name. In early April, Second Childhood will become SC Toys.

The new name reflects the transition Hollenbeck's store has gone through over the years while setting a more contemporary vibe and still recognizing its history.

Hollenbeck said that when she started the store, she carried vintage dolls and toys.

"People would come in and buy toys from their childhood," she said.

The Second Childhood name made sense for that. But over the years, her toy selection has shifted to more newer items, and the name hasn't kept up with her business' evolution. Hollenbeck said that many customers see the name now and think it refers to vintage or used toys.

"People thought we had old, used kids' stuff," she said. And that was deterring customers, "because they thought we were something else."

Hollenbeck has been working to counter preconceived notions about her merchandise by giving her store a more modern appeal. A couple years ago, she said, she painted her building a bright orange color. This past winter, she decided to move forward with the name change. She picked SC Toys as a shorter version that's still recognizable to those who are already familiar with the store but can also attract new customers.

"I have a new generation of kids who are still in their first childhood," Hollenbeck said. "(This is) attracting new customers while honoring our past."

Of course, SC Toys can also reflect her store's feline mascots, Slinky and Sissy. Slinky the cat is a customer favorite and can be found wandering around the store, greeting customers and generally lounging about. Sissy ("Slinky's little sister," although they're not actually related) is the newcomer to the SC Toys family.

Hollenbeck expects to have a new sign installed outside her building and in the windows sometime in April.

Besides the name change, Hollenbeck said she's working on changing her merchandise selection to reflect more emerging toy markets and trends, making her store more contemporary while still having fun. She also aims to make shopping at her store more than just a purchase. She wants it to be memorable.

"In this age of internet business, you have to ... create an experience," she said.