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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center

Updated March 30, 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's Actions

  • 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 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. 
  • 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, 2020. Hear their observations and insights on COVID-19 through your favorite podcasts app or stream the latest episodes here. UPDATE: On March 27, 2020, 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 Monday, March 23, 2020, ASTRA hosted a COVID-19 Conversation Circle with six panelists representing sales reps, retailers, manufacturers and industry service providers. Listen to 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.  
  • 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 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 Marketplace & Academy

  • At this time, ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy, held June 7-10, 2020, will still be taking place as planned.
  • As the situation evolves daily, one thing remains the same – ASTRA’s dedication to supporting you and your businesses during challenging times. The health and safety of the specialty toy industry, including members, attendees, exhibitors and key stakeholders is of utmost importance to us. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure a safe experience for everyone who will be in attendance. Some of these steps include working with the convention center, host hotels and other event venues contracted to ensure they have an on-site preparedness plan that includes increased measures for cleaning and sanitizing their facilities. In addition, we are working to ensure our contracted medical service providers have EMTs and nurses that are trained on the latest screening protocols and have a rapid response protocol in place. We continue to monitor the situation and take into consideration every factor in determining the status of the show.

Action Steps 

  • 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

Resources to Share with Families

Toy Industry Resources

General Resources