If you cried like me when toy stores like Toys R Us and Kiddie City closed their doors years ago, you need to visit Bitz and Buttons toy store, ASAP!
“Creating memories one toy at a time” is the slogan of the kitschy, sentimental brick and mortar toy store, and these words are glaringly true. The instant you walk through the doors of their well stocked toy store, you are transported back to the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Owner Dominick and his wife Cindy are passionate 1980s kids. They are antique and diehard new and old toy action figure collectors. Their store on 5227 West Broward Blvd in Plantation houses voluminous amounts of well organized toys including the brands Stars Wars, Transformers, Lego, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, Smurfs, Barbies, Marvel, Mego, MOTU, NECA, McFarlane, Carebears, My Little Pony, and others and this is not an exhaustive list!
Dominick’s uncle in New York was an avid sports card collector, and he had a brick and mortar sports card store, as well as a busy Ebay sports card collectors’ business. Dominick’s interest in toy collection grew out of his uncle’s card collecting passion.
Physical toy stores have dwindled in the past decade due to digital/online shopping and, more recently, due to COVID-19. Some shoppers resign themselves to shopping at Walmart and Target despite their limited toy departments, but Bitz and Buttons is the fearless brainchild of toy stores in today’s world of online shopping stocking a plethora of toys with which no online store, Target or Walmart can compete!
Bitz and Buttons brings alive in person toy shopping again, and the store is organized and fun filled with massive quantities. Star Wars actions figures, for instance, account for 50 skews/pegs in the store, while big box stores like Walmart may have a mere 3‐4 skews of Star Wars toys, by contrast.
Initially action figures were mostly more masculine and appealing to little boys with Star Wars and science fiction. Co‐owner Cindy fought for a more feminine toy section and, hence, the girl’s corner with My Little Pony, Smurfs, Carebears and Barbie dolls.
You can buy and sell toys that you may have accumulated from family collections or from online purchases, although consignment is not an option. Dominick and Cindy offer a refreshing opportunity to see and to touch action figures in person, instead of in a more uncertain online environment.
The owners attend trade shows and expos on a monthly basis to refresh and increase their toy collections. They also recently had a pop up vendor event in their Plantation Plaza parking lot where toy collectors bought and sold their wares.
Owner Dominick shares that he and his younger brother were enthusiastic action figure collectors, particularly Star Wars actions figures. In the 1990s, Dominick recalls travelling to countless Walmarts and other stores to collect action figures. With the birth of Ebay, Dominick sold his figures on the online action site avidly. When he met his wife Cindy in 2006, the two scoured stores together on the search for toys.
Cindy realized that their massive collection of actions toys was creating a warehouse or overly cluttered feel to their actual home, so she prodded her husband to take the plunge and open an physical toy store.
Dominick was a Publix manager for 22 years, and Cindy a legal secretary, their Ebay toy business was a side hustle. Dominick became increasingly disillusioned with the corporate world, and eventually was encouraged by his wife to open the store in October 2019.
The couple initially worked their primary jobs and the store, before eventually moving to full time toy collecting and selling in October 2020. They realized that in person shopping offered an advantage to exclusive digital marketplaces, like Ebay, where sellers are competing with thousands of vendors.
Many of us experienced economic distress during early 2020 due to the pandemic, particularly small businesses. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, a mere 5 months after the store opened, Bitz and Buttons had to shut down for 3 months. Dominick relied on Ebay business to stay afloat.
He also regularly encouraged YouTubers to film inside the store to boast the aspiring youtubers’ viewership, but also his own store’s visibility. He took to weekly Facebook live shows every Saturday and quickly his viewer swelled from 90 to 200 viewers.
As a result of Dominick’s digital dependency during the pandemic, they have garnered many international viewers and shoppers, primarily from Germany, Australia and Marketplace Mexico. He has also expanded his online presence during 2020 to Walmart Marketplace, Amazon, and Facebook. Basically, Dominick’s indomitable spirit, experience with online selling for many years, and business acumen carried him through those initial pandemic months.
Dominick also beat the supply chain and limited product availability by directly writing to CEOs of Hasbro, Lego, Necco and Super 7 for direct contracts and access to products instead of using sluggish distributors. Currently he secured direct contracts with these companies, which is a rarity.
Bitz is a reference to the 1970s/1980s to the basic computer graphic size. Button is literally a reference to the button on a 70/80 joystick console. “I wanted the name to evoke a nostalgia in the customers, especially since the store features many vintage toys”, Dominick shared.
He wanted toy shopping to be an intergenerational experience, where kids could shop for modern day toys like Funko Pops, but parents could also peruse the aisles for relics of the 1970/80/90s.
This nostalgia and the encounter of generations through the aisles seem to nail the purpose of Bitz and Buttons. “Not only it represents the toy industry to a high standard, it represents Florida local business to a high standard. It’s great for toy collectors and non toy collectors. Brings you down memory lane for past present and future generations. My family and I love visiting this store”, says customer Brian, of West Palm Beach.
Authentication sets a serious collector apart from a mere lighthearted hobby. The Masi’s authenticate their vintage toys via CAS (Collector Archive Service).
The CAS process involves grading old toys with 0‐100 system, so for serious toy collectors, authentication allows preservation of toys to pass down to future generations by validating simple toy collecting from toy authenticating, a buyer or seller is creating a potential family treasure.
If you are looking for an authentic toy shopping experience just like the good ol’ days then Bitz and Buttons should be at the top of your list.
Packed with hundreds of toys Bitz and Buttons will not disappoint, no matter how old you are.
Bitz and Buttons: 5227 West Broward Blvd | Plantation, Florida 33317
Beth Cooper is a Philadelphia Pennsylvania native. She has lived and practiced in Oakland Park for 21 years. Her practice, called Sunshine Chiropractic Center, focuses on family, pediatric, pregnant women, back pain, and auto accidents.
Fitness, running and yoga are her passions. Beth loves spending time with her 11 year old daughter and husband Rob of 20 years when not working.
She loves to support and utilize local mom and pop, entrepreneurial businesses whenever possible. She volunteers for Poverello Live Well Center weekly as the agency’s chiropractor and has done so for over 10 years.