Tricia McCain remembers working in her family’s toy store since she was 14 years old.
After graduating from high school, McCain left Birmingham to attend Auburn University.
She later transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she majored in marketing.
At 22, she returned to her family’s store and began managing the shop. Today she is the third generation manager and a part owner of Homewood Toy and Hobby.
Though she admits working in a toy store can be challenging sometimes, McCain says that she was always interested in taking over the shop and that she enjoys her work.
“I wanted to do it,” McCain says. One of the reasons she likes her job is because of the flexibility it offers. It makes working more convenient because as a part owner, she can set her own schedule and work when she wants to.
She says that patience is another important factor and that liking children makes working easier. “You have to have a good attitude,” McCain says. “You need to be able to deal with children – and parents too.” She also says that having a child of her own has made work more enjoyable for her.
Her son’s birth has also influenced her favorite toys. Since Homewood Toy and Hobby carries many brands for children of all ages, from Legos to collectable Lionel Trains, there are thousands of options. McCain’s favorite brand right now is Playmobile. “The toys give the kids so much creativity,” she says. Every year McCain gets to pick and choose which Playmobile toys and others will fill the shelves of her family’s store when she visits the American International Toy Fair.
Held in New York City, the American International Toy Fair is the largest toy trade show in the western hemisphere, with more than 100,000 products available.
McCain says attending the show is her favorite part of working in a toy store because she does all the buying for Homewood Toy and Hobby there. McCain says that this is exciting because as a buyer, she gets to play with all the toys firsthand. She also sees new toys before they even come out on the market.
In the future, McCain sees her family’s store staying right where it is. “I don’t really want to change,” she says. “I like it the way it is.” She says that she hopes her son will want to take over just as she did. If not she would like another relative to run the store. Homewood Toy and Hobby has been in her family since her grandparents opened it over forty years ago, and McCain does not want that to change anytime soon.
Homewood Toy & Hobby
2830 18th Street South
Homewood, AL 35209
Open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.