The Carousel Story
Carousel is an independent family run online gift company that has been operating for over 19 years.
Here is our story…
Established in June 1998,
Carousel began as a small village shop in Shalford, just outside Guildford in Surrey. In fact, we were actually only ‘the corner’ of a small village shop in Shalford!
Our founders, David and Clare Turvey, decided to start selling new children’s toys in the corner of a 2nd hand clothing shop.
This proved very successful and it wasn’t long before we were taking over the entire shop with a beautiful selection of traditional wooden toys and games, while slowly phasing out the 2nd hand clothing.
In August 1998
The keys were handed over and we were the proud owners of a delightful Children’s Toyshop called Carousel.
Many customers will remember us as ‘the colourful toy shop on the corner with the flags’. We were also often referred to as an ‘Aladdins cave’ and, also, ‘Pandora’s Box’.
You wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it, but every possible shelf, space and cubby hole was utilised to its full potential with toys covering entire walls and most parts of the floor.
Yes, we admit it, it was sometimes difficult to move around the shop, but that was how we liked it! Occasionally the perfect soft toy would just fall into your hands and would have to be purchased by a delighted young shopper.
The next few years
We experienced a wonderful following of loyal customers who frequently shopped with us, purchasing a wide selection of toys, gifts, filled party bags and balloons.
Fast forward a bit to (2005)
The beginning of a new online shopping era. Carousel was taking a giant step into exciting, but unknown territory. We wanted to start selling our range of toys online via Amazon, Ebay and our own website, which, because hosting and website building was very expensive, was hosted in the USA and was partially developed for us by a team in Ukraine.
This proved to be highly successful as we were one of the very first toy retailers selling online.
A couple of years later
The competition became particularly intense and it was no longer possible to sell branded toys online. The large retailers were undercutting our prices and it was very hard to compete with them. This was when the idea came to start selling toys AND GIFTS online.
Not only did we have our small shop premises in Shalford, but we now also had a large warehouse in Godalming. From there we dispatched all our online orders. To be truthful, we first started dispatching our orders from David and Clare’s home (but that’s a whole other story and we don’t have time to go into that).
Over the next 10 years, Carousel continued to grow. We were now successfully selling a wide selection of toys and gifts instore and online via several different outlets. David and Clare recruited their daughters; Kate, Eliza and Martha and the workforce slowly expanded.
This brings us swiftly to March 2017
Sadly it was time to say goodbye to Carousel Toyshop in Shalford. After almost 20 years working at the shop, it was finally time for Clare to retire. ‘Yippee’ for Clare!
Some of our very first customers were now becoming new parents themselves. They loved bringing their new-borns and small children into Carousel. A lot of local customers had grown up with the toyshop. They were sad to see it close, but nothing can last forever, and the time had come. Carousel toyshop closed it’s doors on March 31st 2017.
2018 will see exciting new changes for Carousel, with a new larger warehouse and an expanding team of staff, we will be increasing our range and creating a fresh new website.
Watch this space as the adventure continues into our 20th year…!