Hamilton couple opens Oliver’s Toy Chest in memory of son

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A Hamilton couple is debuting a new toy store today in downtown Hamilton, which is a tribute to their son who died last year from complications of a bone marrow transplant.

Today also would have been Oliver Robbins’ 11th birthday.

“Oliver had a deep, deep love for toys and collecting; we have a whole room just dedicated to his collection,” said David Robbins. “He would be amazed just walking into it.”

Robbins and Samantha Schmidt planned to open a physical location of Oliver’s Toy Chest ― it has been an eBay store since December ― once their youngest son was better. Though he died on Oct. 21, and was in remission from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), he died from a complication from a bone marrow transplant.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

But Robbins and Schmidt, and their 13-year-old son Marley, say they wanted to open Oliver’s Toy Chest because it was Oliver’s dream, and would be thrilled with the store, he said. They opened today at 209 Main St. in downtown Hamilton.

“We were just actually talking about it yesterday,” Robbins said. “We were at the store and we were talking about how proud he would be if he came in there. I know he would be proud of us just to know we actually did it.”

AML is a rare form of cancer for children. Only about 500 children are diagnosed with the blood cancer annually as it’s more common in adults, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The toy store has various types of murals painted on the walls, from Slimer from Ghostbusters to Pennywise from It, and on display for everyone to see is a picture of Oliver.

“We just want to make it somewhere that is special,” Robbins said.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Oliver’s Toy Chest will carry many types of toys, especially vintage toys.

“Oliver was into anything ‘90s and before, and we built the store off his interests,” Robbins said.

And stores with classic and vintage toys are resurging.

“It’s all about the tried-and-true, the toys that are already familiar,” Jay Foreman, chief executive of the Florida-based company Basic Fun told the Washington Post. “Parents and grandparents are not watching Nickelodeon or YouTube to see what’s new. They’re buying toys they know: Barbie Dreamhouse, Tonka Mighty Dump Trucks.”

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