Surprisingly, the hottest holiday gift for the age 4 to 8 demographic is not made by Mattel or Hasbro or one of the other big players in the multi-billion dollar toy industry. Blip Toys, a small company based in Minnetonka, created this year's must-have toy, Squinkies.
For those of you over the age of 8 who are unfamiliar with Squinkies, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal provided some details and an explanatory video in a recent article. Given the incredible demand nationally and overseas for Squinkies, Blip Toys' 16-person staff is likely to grow substantially in the short term.
Blip Toys is not the first toy manufacturer to get its start in the Twin Cities' western suburbs. Many adults grew up playing with Tonka trucks and other Tonka toys, produced by a company that was founded in Mound just after World War II. This article from 1956 highlights some of Tonka's most popular toys of that era, many of which remain popular with children more than a half-century later.
In difficult economic times when many companies have closed or are struggling, it's great to see a local entrepreneurial venture achieve such success. The Opus College of Business has long supported entrepreneurship in the Twin Cities. If you're a budding entrepreneur or would like to learn more about starting and running a small business, be sure to take a look at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, which houses several centers and institutes providing resources for local entrepreneurs.