Barrett's Toy Chest Has Bright Future For McFarlane Figures

When McFarlane Toys first introduced its Sports Picks line of figures, Brandon Poslof, owner of Barrett's Toy Chest, was already well aware of the quality of figures McFarlane Toys produced. The fact that he knew McFarlane Toys produced quality figures was enough to convince him to start selling the Sports Picks once they finally hit the market.
"Already being a dealer, and knowing how well the McFarlane name sells, I looked at it as an opportunity to take a leap of faith and jump on the Sports Picks product when it was beginning," said Poslof.
When he first started selling McFarlane's Sports Picks, he did it on a part-time basis. The part-time status wasn't because the product wasn't popular, but just the fact that there were not many series available in the beginning. According to Poslof, it was Football Series 1 that changed everything.
"The fully licensed product only had one hockey series in the beginning, and that wasn't a huge jump in demand," said Poslof. "The hockey fans grabbed onto it, but it really didn't have that flurry yet. Then Football Series 1 was released a short time later, and that really lit the fuse for the hobby.
"Football Series 1 had a great selection, and the look was phenomenal, with great detail. At that point in time, I knew the Sports Picks were going to be the wave of the future."
Selling McFarlane's Sports Picks gradually took more and more of his time, the revenue started coming in, more series of figures were released, and the volume of figures he was selling increased to a point where Poslof made an important decision. He left his career of 16 years to operate Barrett's Toy Chest full time.
"With the volume of figures I was selling, I just decided that I should do this full time, because it is a job in itself, and it also gave me a change of pace and more freedom," said Poslof.
Now, several years later, Poslof has no regrets.
One of the things Poslof enjoys about being a McFarlane's Sports Picks dealer is seeing the joy kids experience when they see the figures at shows. He cited the example of when he was set up at a show in San Francisco.
Poslof explained: "I still had my tarps up on my booth, and a little kid was walking by with his dad and he could see the figures. The kid was like, 'Wow.' It was nice seeing how happy and excited that kid was, that he liked what he saw and he really wanted one. When you go through all the headache of travel - the booth setup, staying in hotels - and all the things that go with it, that 30 seconds of seeing that kid happy, makes it all worthwhile."
Traveling to and setting up at shows is a major part of Poslof's business, as he has a booth at a local show twice a week. In addition, he travels to 10-12 other shows around the country. These shows range from the MLB FanFest, NFL Experience, NBA Jam Session, The National and SportsFest, just to name a few. All this traveling takes its toll, but Poslof knows it is an important part of having a successful business.
With the popularity of the McFarlane's Sports Picks, new dealers have popped up throughout the country. This is good news for collectors, as they can search for the best deals. It causes the existing dealers to work a little harder, as there is more competition for consumers.
Poslof stated there are a couple of things that separates his business from those of other McFarlane's Sports Picks dealers. First, he gives each collector a "personal level of contact," meaning he is always there to answer the phone and answer any questions collectors may have.
The fact that Barrett's Toy Chest carries a lot of the older, hard-to-find figures is another way Barrett's Toy Chest is different from other dealers.
"I specialize in a lot of the older material, so there are a lot of figures I have in stock almost all the time, and if I don't, I can get them fairly easy through the contacts I have," said Poslof.
For those who are thinking about starting to collect McFarlane's Sports Picks, Poslof has some advice.
"My advice would be to pick what you like, whether that is your favorite player or your favorite team," said Poslof. "Don't focus so much on the variations, as you can have a much broader collection by not focusing on the variations.
"Collect the figures to enjoy the figures. If that means opening the package to enjoy the figure to its fullest, then do that."
Looking into the future, Poslof doesn't see the McFarlane's Sports Picks craze ending anytime soon. In fact, he feels the hobby will soon be turning the corner, with the introduction of the legends series in each sport.
"With McFarlane getting into a lot of the legends series, which includes retired players and Hall of Fame players, you are tapping a brand-new market," said Poslof. "I think by turning that corner, and going into that age bracket, I think the hobby is really going to get a boost from that."
Not only does Barrett's Toy Chest carry all the McFarlane's Sports Picks, it also carries a variety of other non-sport McFarlane figures.