- Location: Northeast Harbor, ME and online
- Website: johnwsheetz.com
Although we've never been to their store in Maine (they also sell online), we like to imagine we'd be greeted there by a grey-bearded, bespectacled grandfather with a twinkle in his eye and quite possibly wearing suspenders. He'd take toys off the shelf for you to examine as if he were bringing your parents' well-preserved toys out of the attic saved especially for you.
John W. Sheetz & Sons has been in business for about a decade and opened up their store in Northeast Harbor, Maine in 2004. The toys they select to sell (mostly German, Swiss or Italian-made) have integrity both in the quality of their construction but also in their timelessness. You won't find anything that requires batteries or any flash-in-the-pan fad toys here.
Their focus, instead, is on toys that encourage open, imagination-driven play: "There are two kinds of toys: toys that stimulate active play and toys that don't. Each makes its contribution, but John W. Sheetz & Sons offers a rich variety of only those toys that make demands on a child's imagination, dexterity, and ingenuity."
Simply said, they take toys seriously so your kids don't have to.
The website is searchable by type of toy, child's age country of origin or manufacturer. We've linked to ten of our favorites below:
6 Fado spinning top ($8, one of a huge selection of beautiful wooden tops)
7 Maple Farmhouse Puzzles (20 cubes, $49.50)
8 Cugolino marble tracks ($139)
9 Table soccer ($135)
10 Mobile with whimsical riders ($41)