Kid's Korner One of Eastern Ontario's Best Toy Shops

By Bob Peters
November 19, 2012

Leslie and Kevin Ouderkirk - Kid's Korner - CornwallCornwall Ontario - There is something special about the way a child’s face lights up when they are given a new toy. Imagine then, how  fun Kevin and Leslie Ouderkirk’s jobs are – they get to see dozens of kids faces every day as they walk into Kid’s Korner, what some call the best toy store in Ontario.

Kid’s Korner is located in a charming little building on Pitt Street in the heart of Cornwall’s downtown. Like most treasures, it is somewhat understated on the outside, yet full of colour and light on the inside. The store is jammed to the rafters with the latest toys – as well as time-tested favourites.

“We LOVE what we're doing!” says Leslie Ouderkirk. “We're always playing games and helping kids discover new toys. How could you not love it!?!”

Kid’s Korner has the selection and variety of product lines that easily surpasses even the large big box stores.  It has the major toy lines such as LEGO, Playmobil, Melissa and Doug and Thomas the Train, the Ouderkirks also stock a wide variety of science kits, puzzles, craft kits and models, board games, French and English books, giftware, baby products and furniture.

“We strive for good quality and educational toys, but also ones that offer good value to the customer,” says Leslie. “Kevin and I attend a lot of trade shows to see all what's hot and current.  We also talk to our customers and bring in toys that they think are great. Some of our best sellers have been ideas from our customers.”

Top selling toys this Christmas include LEGO Friends (girl style Lego), LEGO Ninjago and Monster Fighters, Elf on the Shelf (book and toy), Shwings (wings for your shoes) and LOL Elmo. The Perplexus Twist maze game and Suspend balancing game from Melissa and Doug toys are also popular. The Ouderkirks have made sure that the store has something for everyone, young and old, at any budget level.

“We have something for every age,” says Kevin. “Baby products are strong for us but our adult sections are also doing awesome (puzzles, model kits and especially board games, card games and brain-teasers).

In fact, Kevin and Leslie can often be seen playing the latest puzzle or brain-teaser with their customers at the cash. It is their love of toys and games that permeates the entire store, and helps them connect with their customers.

Kid’s Korner has been around since 1985 when Kevin opened a children’s furniture store called Dreamland with his sister-in-law. The  business grew to thepoint where they could each run their own store. Kevin renamed the store Kid’s Korner and Dreamland is thriving in a new location a block away.

Kevin and Leslie have guided the store through busy and not-so-busy years. Business was particulary strong in the 1980’s and 1990’s when baby boomers were having kids.  The couple has relied on each other and sound business planning to succeed despite the pressures of big-box retail  and online shopping.

“We consult each other constantly and really listen to each other,” says Leslie. “We trust each others opinion.”

The couple continue to work at building the name throughout the region – and at the same time compete with the huge marketing dollars of the big stores.

“We still have people that don't know who or where we are,” says Leslie. “Our customers help us spread the word.  People are amazed at the inventory we carry – we simply have toys and games that they cannot get at the big stores, and we’re happy to help them find that special gift.”

The Ouderkirks are admittedly old-fashioned when it comes to marketing, however that is changing. The couple have launched a Facebook page:

Kid's Korner is located at 141 Pitt Street in Downtown Cornwall. The store is open 7 days a week during the Christmas shopping season. You can reach the store at 613 938-6457.

Related Articles

Interested in other Cornwall businesses? Check out these recent news stories:


Category: Business