“We thought we would be packing up right now,” Lori Curtin said in an interview, squeezed between customers and gift wraps. “This has been such a blessing. I don’t even know what to say.”
Lori and her husband, Mike Curtin, announced last week that financial troubles had forced them to close three of the four Toy Boat branches, and that the Corona del Mar location at 3331 East Coast Highway might close at the end of business on July 31.
As word spread of the couple’s plight, longtime customers of the iconic toy store began stopping by to shop and show support. One fan called radio host Bill Handel of KFI AM 640, who decided to sponsor a cash mob this week, bringing hundreds of customers from as far away as Long Beach and other cities to shop and infuse the business with much-needed cash.
More than 600 toys were sold in just a few hours, Curtin said, and other supporters made cash donations.
The next day, she and her husband met with their landlord and worked out an arrangement. They gave him a large portion of money owed for back rent and promised to pay back the remainder over time. The rest of their cash mob money will go to pay taxes, vendors and to replenish inventory.
The Curtins hope to hang on until Christmastime, the biggest season for a toy business.
“That’s our goal,” Lori Curtin said. “We’re doing better. This has been huge.”