Mixed signals for River Front businesses

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A downtown Wilmington toy store will close its doors after five years in business because of the slow economy.

Zoo Toys and Trains will only remain open until the end of the summer.

"Business has just dropped off and I spent the time building the business up and it's done well," said Tony Mangino owner of Zoo Toys and Trains. "Now it's gone and I am not personally waiting around for things to turn around and get better."

The toy store is offering bargains to clear its shelves, a result of the economic downturn.

Just last month, Kingoff's Jewelers announced they were leaving after being a part of downtown Wilmington for 90 years.

But the news is not all bad - some downtown businesses are thriving, even growing.

"Catch, Coastal Cupcakes, and then Slainte Irish Pub is opening a second location," said John Hinnant of Downtown Wilmington, Inc. "Nobody really harps on the fact that we've got businesses in downtown that are expanding out into the suburbs."

Hinnant thinks some of the smaller independent retailers are having a particularly tough time competing against big box stores.

While Mangino is packing up his business, he knows he will not be the last entrepreneur drawn to downtown.

"Somebody else will come in you know, the store is a nice space, it's in a nice location," said Mangino.

Zoo Toys and Trains is not going away completely, it will remain open online.

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