When we opened Scalliwag Toys in 1985, one of the very first lines that we ordered in to our bare little store was BRIO wooden trains.
We were entranced by the high quality, the attention to detail in manufacturing, and the timeless appeal of the toys–the trains, buildings, and accessories were instantly recognizable as such, but just abstract enough to represent the idea of trains (or buildings, or trees), rather than any one train or character in particular. This, we thought, would help children make full use of their imaginations as they played.
And it did. We carried BRIO toys for almost 20 years, until BRIO, still manufactured in Sweden and facing stiff competition from cheaper brands manufactured in the Orient, withdrew from the North American market back to Europe. We were very sorry to see them go.
This story has a happy ending, however, as BRIO trains will be reappearing on the shelves of North American specialty toy shops this summer. The company has regrouped and reissued their classic trains, track, and accessories at very attractive prices. The Mighty Red Locomotive, shown at left, was CDN$39.99 the last time we sold it in 2005. When BRIO comes back into stock in August 2012, however, the same Mighty Red Locomotive will sell for only $29.99! Other items have seen similar significant price reductions.
The whole line will be arriving in the month of August, along with a brand-spanking-new train table for kids and adults to try. We’ll be sure to post an update to let you know as soon as they steam in the front door!