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Pandemic Drives Up Demand For Games, Puzzles, And Hobbies

Brian Bull

Note: This story has been updated, see statement following original article below.

While many local shops are scaling down operations during the coronavirus pandemic, one says business is doing pretty well.

Andrew Agerter is manager of Eugene Toy and Hobby. He says with many people spending more time at home now, there’s a need for hobbies to distract from the headlines, or boredom.

“We’ve got a lot of puzzles, a lot of board games, a lot of modeling supplies, model railroading," Agerter tells KLCC. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Plastic model airplane (British Hawker Hurricane).

"We’re selling anywhere from 20 to 30 or 40 puzzles a day right now.  And so it’s been really nice to see people willing to stock up and support local too, I think that’s a big thing with people right now.”

Agerter adds at many Eugene businesses including his, there’s temporary parking for customers wanting to do a quick pick-up outside. 

In-store customers are offered latex gloves or hand sanitizer while perusing the shelves.

UPDATE: On March 21st, Eugene Toy & Hobby issued the following statement regarding its operations and access:

"Dear Eugene Toy & Hobby Customers,

After prolonged conversations and careful consideration, we have made the decision to close our store front for a two week period starting Monday March 23rd – Monday April 6th. At the end of the two week period we will re-access our closure and keep you updated. The health and safety of our community is our top priority.

During this time, we will continue to fulfill online orders. Last week we began offering a drive through service for online orders, this service will continue during the closure. After entering your billing address our website will offer Drive Thru as a shipping option. We are also reducing our shipping cost for non-hazardous items to $2.99 and offering free shipping on all orders over $30 for local customers. If you have difficulty navigating the website or do not see the item you want, please call us as we continue to offer our outstanding customer service over the phone.

If you walk past the store you may see employees inside cleaning shelves, working on orders, or doing repairs. Although we will miss interacting with you, our extended family, you will not be allowed inside.

Limited repair services will continue to be provided, call us for details.

As always we are grateful for the support that our community has shown us for the last 86 years!

We wish you and your family the best of health during this outbreak and look forward to seeing you again soon.

The Eugene Toy & Hobby Family"

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.