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germany - mom n pop stores in the middle of nowhere

bahnstormerbahnstormer Member Posts: 180
edited September 2011 in Shopping Elsewhere
had a heart attack last month and currently in a spa clinic in the mountains recovering / lazing about / experimenting with no traction control on mountain hairpins.

been exploring the countryside as i am right on the hessen / bavarian border and there are loads of little toy shops in the villages near here.

found 9v motors and track, creator car ferries, older duplo, 2 cases of s1 figs amongst other odds n sods.

the weirdest sightings had to be a directors set from 2000 with software etc (200 euro...) , primo and scala sets. a shop which mostly sells RC models had some action sets from mid-90s.

if anyone is thinking of coming over and is in fulda (A66 / A7) or aschaffenburg / frankfurt (A3) let me know and i'll give you a heads up.

The saddest part of going to these stores is remembering my childhood in the late 70s and there being similar stores in tonbridge (westoys and arthur hull) and tunbridge wells (whites) which have all been shut for at least 20 years. says it all about the decline of UK high streets when a town of 30,000 people cant support a toy shop but a german village of 2000 can.


  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    I hope you're feeling better???

    Thanks for the heads up. I'll be heading to the Hanover area to see friends (who love to shop) so hopefully we can hunt some down too.

    And agreed. It's been a long time since there were toy shops in each town. I miss Redgates.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,258
    edited September 2011
    ^ Your comments brought up some interesting Deja Vu on my visits to Europe from 1979-93... back when my relatives (aunts, uncles, grandparents) were still alive. It was after a particularly heavy meal at my great uncles house near Coburg (upper Bavaria) that I took a stroll down one of the streets below his hilltown house that brought me out of my dark ages in 1979. I came across a small stationary store that appeared to sell some toys. In a dusty corner of the store I came across 2 LEGO Classic Windows/Doors Retailer Boxes (#214 1-10), that had been sitting in that corner for nearly 20 years. I opened them up to find hundreds of old mint classic windows and doors in each box (one box had red, the other white). I ended up buying the pair of boxes for $20 each. I also came across some very curious small parts pack boxes that were made of plastic, had an odd size 8x11 gray plate at its' base, and contained small LEGO plates (1x1, 1x2, 2x2, 2x3, 2x4) in various colors... these were #518-#521 Architectural Parts Packs (Hobby und Modelbau) of 1963-65. I spent another $40 and bought all 20 of those as well. This was what brought me out of my Dark Ages (since 1968).

    Anyway... in the 14 years after that I kept returning to Germany to visit relatives, nearly every summer... and scoured the small town toy stores of southern Germany and Austria... finding such old treasures as... 2 #396 Thatcher Perkins Sets... 2 #364 (Harbor) and 2 #365 (Wild West) sets... thousands of additional classic LEGO windows/doors (which I just love!!), 4 wooden box LEGO sets from the 1960s, several dozen small Homemaker sets from the 70s, and lots of other old parts packs.

    It was like a treasure hunt for me visiting these old mom and pop stores where old LEGO items had been sitting on shelves for decades. These small out of the way stores never say a sale or clearance... they just kept the items on the shelves for a looooong time.

    Of course as the folks died off, the stores closed, and disappeared (many were on the 1st floor of houses, since zoning ordinances were unlike those of the USA), and today few are left.

    Sounds like I missed one toy store when visiting the ancient ecclesiastic capital of Germany. The Prince-Abbots of the 8th century Abbey of Fulda were the Primate of Germany (sort of like the "Archbishop of Canterbury" of Germany) during the 8th thru 11th century. The abbey (since rebuilt in Baroque times) houses the revered remains of St. Boniface, patron saint of Germany.
  • bahnstormerbahnstormer Member Posts: 180
    savage - had a stent put in and finally gave up smoking after 24 years (i started at 14... might be why i had a HA at 38...) as a tip go to google and type spielwaren and then add the town you will visit - have a look at the map and zoom out for a 50 km view. all the red dots are either sport, toy or music shops.

    also look at the maps on , hannover brings up this[zip]=hannover

    check store list at idee + spiel , this chain has its head office in hannover so stores near there should have reasonable stock at the top put in hannover

    gary - as germany still has a tithe tend to avoid the religion bit when i visit towns but on the other hand i do check out the breweries ;-)

    the 1st floor ones are gone but a fair few have passed down the family
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,615
    This discussion thread is wonderful - thank you all for such an interesting read !
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,258
    edited September 2011
    Thanks DrDave!

    Bahnstormer.... a HA at age 38... you might want to visit at least a Cathedral or two... (even out of architectural curiosity for a LEGO build). They only ask for voluntary donations for the building maintenance fund if you just visit. If as the Book of Revelations says... only a select number of us will be saved... opting for a Pub instead of a Cathedral may count against you! ;-) LOL....
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,258
    edited September 2011
    It dawned on me that... many of you "youngsters" haven't a clue to what I was talking about when I mentioned Windows/Doors Retailer boxes or plastic box Architectural Parts Packs... so I've attached a pic of each.

    The first is a 214 1-10 Retailer Windows/Doors box (1st image below), which was only available to continental European LEGO retailers (but not in Portugal), and held 375 windows/doors. Retailers could sell the windows/doors as individual parts to the children, who could pick whatever they wanted. Retailers could order small refill boxes that fit into the larger retailer box (3rd image below).

    For UK, Australia, UK and Australia... classic windows/doors were only available to customers in parts pack boxes... mainly 1 box per window/door type. No individual part sales.

    The Architectural parts packs in hard clear plastic boxes (2nd image below), were only available in the 4 plate sizes (2x4, 2x3, 2x2 and combined 1x2/1x1), but 7 different colors (red, white, blue, black, trans-clear, gray... and later on also in yellow).
  • bahnstormerbahnstormer Member Posts: 180
    as a card carrying heathen, i'll take my chances ;-)

    dont actually drink that much (and at the risk of going waaaay off topic), the german brewery system is a bit like the toy shops here - amost every town has one and the locals will tend to drink it. quite interested in how the economics work to make them a viable business with a relatively small clientele

    was in a village called Wiesen (c.1000 people) which has its own brewery

    google map shows all the local breweries around the spa i'm at - set radius to 10 miles / 20 km,Bad+Orb,+Germany&ei=FGxyTp-eNYzwsgbIuo2IBw&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=image&ved=0CBMQtgM
  • RobbRobb Member Posts: 144
    The great thing about small, independent toy shops, as you point out, is that they don't necessarily clear out old stock like the big chains do. I only came out of my dark ages this summer and so I missed some great creator and castle sets from the last few years. But when browsing through an independent toy shop in town the other day, I picked up a couple sets that are now selling for 30-50% over the RRP on ebay or Amazon, but here they were at regular RRP.

    Sure, it would have been better to find them on sale, but I'll take regular price for a discontinued set, especially when it helps support a local merchant.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,021
    edited September 2011
    Amazing finds!!! I found a place by me (I'm in the US) and the sets that I had found over the years: 2 Legend Black Seas Barracuda sets (for $75 each, a Statue of Liberty set (for 150) , 2 Black Falcons Fortress Legend sets (at 45 each) set, 3 Train sheds at clearance ($65 each) and 3 slave 1's ($55 each) when they sold out... all at a clearance price... Sadly that store is online now so no chance of me finding sold out sets there anymore, but those were the days.... With Online it is now harder and harder to find these hidden gems...
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,921
    If anyone wants a fantastic toy shop in the UK visit the Toy Box in Godalming Surrey UK for great lego bits and the owner Steve likes it as well and is really nice
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