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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center

Updated May 8, 2020. 

Messages from the Board

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing messages from the ASTRA Board of Directors, the 14-member governing body of ASTRA represented by a group of retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives and industry partners. Learn more about the members of ASTRA Board of Directors here.

ASTRA News

  • ASTRA's Marketplace & Academy 2020 has been canceled. Learn more here. 
     
  • ​ASTRA has co-signed the proposal put forth by the Institute of Local Self Reliance urging the federal government to respond to keep small businesses solvent through the crisis. Read more here
     

ASTRA's Resources 

  • View an on-demand recording of a webinar on CommentSold, a live online selling platform utilized by retailers to boost sales. Join Amy Saldanha of kiddywampus and Anita Demetropoulos of Anita M Demetropoulos Small Business Consulting to learn more about this platform for your business. View the webinar here
     
  • The ASTRA Toy Talk podcast welcomed Jennifer Rust of Creative Profit Planning and her client Lynn Ross of Mother Earth Baby Boutique (Lansing, MI) to share methods that independent retailers have been implementing to maximize their profits during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the financial foundations necessary to stay afloat. Listen using your favorite podcast app or stream online here.  
     
  • Download the ASTRA Toy Play Tips, a package of downloadble graphics to share on your social media channels. Click here to download
     
  • On April 24, ASTRA hosted Coffee Talk with Kim and welcomed guest Schylon Hofmann of Spielwarenmesse eG, who shared insights on the global impact of COVID-19 on the industry. View the recording here
  • ASTRA member Jillian Lakritz of Yoee Baby shared a report on changing consumer insights including what people are buying now, where they are spending and how brands should communicate during this time. Click here to view the report. UPDATE: A new report came out on April 6, 2020. Click here to view the new findings. 
     
  • The ASTRA Toy Notes blog shares seven ideas from ASTRA member Brad Ruoho of Legacy Toys (Ely, MN), with ideas he and his staff have used to deliver play to customers during this time including website sales, bundled packaging and shipping. Read more here. 
     
  • To support members who are looking for professional development resources and content for themselves and their staff during this time, ASTRA is offering popular ASTRA Academy resources at a discount or complimentary to all ASTRA members:
    • Complimentary access to the complete package of Marketplace & Academy 2019 session recordings, including the highly popular session "Lemonade Stand 2.0: Secrets from Childhood for Suceeding in Business and Life" by Jason Kotecki
    • Complimentary access to a 12-video package from Peter Sheahan, Marketplace & Academy 2018 keynote, on turning disruptive forces into competitive advantage
    • Discounted pricing on ASTRA Academy certifications, including the Certified Play Expert, Certified Master Retailer and Certified Sales Representative programs. Interested in offering multiple staff the opportunity to become certified? Contact Ahren Hoffman at (312) 222-0984.
       
  • ASTRA hosted the live webinar "Economic Injury Disaster Loan: What You Need to Know" on Monday, March 30 with SCORE and the U.S. Small Business Administration covering the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (P3).
    View the webinar recording here.
     
  • The ASTRA Toy Talk podcast interviewed retailers Rob Pickering of Snapdoodle Toys & Games (Seattle, WA) and Rick Derr of Learning Express Toys (Lake Zurich, IL) on March 19. Hear their observations and insights on COVID-19 through your favorite podcasts app or stream the latest episodes here. UPDATE: On March 27, the Toy Talk podcast invited Rick Derr back to share an update on what changed since his last podcast interview. Stream the episode here. 
     
  • On March 26, the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do podcast interviewed ASTRA Board Member Amy Saldanha of kiddywampus (Hopkins, MN) on retail and COVID-19. Listen to the episode here
     
  • On March 23, ASTRA hosted a COVID-19 Conversation Circle with six panelists representing sales reps, retailers, manufacturers and industry service providers. Listen to the recording here. 

 

Action Steps 

  • Review the list of coronavirus retail restrictions by state, curated by the National Retail Federation. This state-by-state map outlines coronavirus-related laws, executive orders, regulations and guidance governing store reopening for retailers.
     
  • Go through the Operation Open Doors checklist provided by the National Retail Federation to help you map out a plan of action for reopening.
     
  • The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and National Retail Federation (NRF) on Monday announced “A Blueprint for Shopping Safe,” a plan to help guide a uniform reemergence of retail around the country. See the plan here
     
  • Sign up to receive updates from your local government officials to stay informed on changes to mandates and closures. Find your elected officials here
     
  • Urge legislators to keep toys and games accessible to families. Click here to send an email to your officials and join The Toy Association and toy industry community in making your voice heard. 
     
  • Retailers: Add items (including gift certificates) to and share your website on social and via email. Promote your delivery services, curbside pickup options and in-store shopping services conducted via Facebook Messeger, Facebook Live, IG Live, etc. 
     
  • Boost your social media presence. More people will be at home and scrolling social media or websites for news. Now is the time to further position yourself as a resource to your community. Host a craft activity on Facebook Live or read aloud to kids during your normally-scheduled storytime. Consider offering ideas for play or play tips to encourage parents who are at home with their kids.
     
  • Retailers: Reference the ASTRA Year Round Offerings resource, which is continually being updated by ASTRA manufacturers with specific COVID-19 specials and support. Call your ASTRA member vendors and manufacturers and ask if there are ways they can support you, whether by extending dating terms or billing periods.
     
  • Reach out to landlords, utility service providers, etc. to negotiate rent or utility costs. 
     
  • ASTRA Manufacturers: Update your Year Round Offerings listing with specific COVID-19 specials and support. Reach out to your ASTRA retailers to offer extended dating or drop-ship opportunities to help them serve their customers. 
     
  • Head to ASTRA Connect to share your questions, ideas and concerns. We are mighty together when we come to support our industry members. Latest conversations: Challenge Accepted; Game Plan; Extra Dating; Toy Stores as Essential Businesses 
     
  • Give yourself a much-needed break. Now is a good time to sign up for something like The Good Stuff, CNN's weekly good news newsletter created and written by the 5 Things team that will boost your spirits.
     

Business Resources | General

 

Business Resources | Financial Assistance and Relief Programs

 

Business Resources | Rent & Lease Assistance 

Business Resources | HR


Business Resources | Operations 

Resources to Share with Families

Resources Shared by ASTRA Member Companies


Toy Industry Resources

General Resources