Entropy crowned Australian Toy Retailer of the Year

NORTH Queensland-based traditional toy store Entropy has been crowned Australian Toy Retailer of the Year by its industry peers.

Deborah Latouf with Folkmanis Seal

Opening a single store in 2007 in Townsville; Entropy moved three times in its first five years to accommodate growth, and is now the most extensive independent online toy store in Australia.

Sports scientist-turned-toy-store-owner Dr Deborah Latouf attributed a large part of the success to being committed to supplying quality toys that educated and entertained; plus developing and building relationships with customers through consistently strong service, and leveraging off multichannel retailing.

“We are always trying to do things a bit differently and I’ve always been very clear about our point of difference,” Dr Latouf said of the store that stocks traditional, wooden and educational toys and games that are designed to stimulate physical and intellectual activity.

“A lot of this is through our product range — we cater for babies through to teens, and even adults; plus we have treasures that customers do not see everywhere else… we like people to come into the store and say ‘WOW’. We’re all about creating those treasured childhood memories.”

Deborah Latouf with Haba Rose Fairy Tent

Entropy goes to great lengths to ensure it stocks the best toys and games from all over the world, with Dr Latouf attending the world’s leading toy fair, Spielwarenmesse, in Nuremberg earlier this month.

Also this month, the independent retailer launched a new state-of-the-art website, which offers a series of improved functions to enhance customers’ shopping experience.

Dr Latouf said taking the store online in 2009 had been a huge milestone, with order volume since increasing 10-fold.

“The combination of having a physical retail premises and an online store has worked particularly well for us in terms of being able to offer such a diverse and huge range, but we have also been very careful not to compromise our service,” Dr Latouf said.

“After all, we are a full service toy store and our customers expect that extra touch of magic; especially during that busy Christmas time.”

The Retailer of the Year award is an annual accolade conducted by Toy & Hobby Retailer Magazine where industry peers vote on who and what has made the biggest impact in the world of toys in the past 12 months.

“The Toy & Hobby Retailer Industry Awards recognise the product, business and service excellence that companies bring to this dynamic market,” publisher Lindy Hughson said.

“Entropy has, since its establishment, consistently demonstrated strong business acumen and a forward-thinking approach to toy retailing that anticipates consumer demand and delivers a memorable customer experience in-store – be that online or in the bricks-and-mortar outlet.

“Entropy’s successful integration of digital and physical retail platforms has played a large part in its achievement of this accolade.”

Deborah Latouf in Entropy's Townsville store

Dr Latouf has also personally won several business awards, including North Queensland Business Woman of the Year and the Australian Institute of Management’s (AIM) Townsville Owner Operator of the Year, both in 2012.

The Toy & Hobby Retailer 2013 Industry Awards will be presented at the annual Toy Fair in Melbourne which starts on Sunday, March 16, 2014.

Entropy is based at Hyde Park Shopping Centre in Townsville, but can be visited from anywhere at www.entropy.com.au.