Los Gatos' Automobuild Toy Store Moving to North Santa Cruz Avenue

Popular business will nearly double in space at new location.

Kirsten Dryden is the owner of the popular Automobuild toy store in Los Gatos. Photo by Sheila Sanchez
Kirsten Dryden is the owner of the popular Automobuild toy store in Los Gatos. Photo by Sheila Sanchez
Specialty toy store Automobuild, 21 W. Main St., has announced it's moving to North Santa Cruz Avenue at the former space of the now-closed Purrsnickety  spot.

The store will be closing Sunday evening and will open at the new location, 100 No. Santa Cruz Ave., a week later, said owner Kirsten Dryden.

Reason for the move is a desire to double the store's space, which will occupy the two buildings formerly used by the pet store, Dryden said.

"We need more room," Dryden said. "We're bursting at the seams. We've got a lot of customers who need more products ... For me, to be able to bring them all here, I need more space."

The store, co-owned by Dryden's husband, John, has been operating at the West Main Street location since June of 2010.

"It's a toy store, but it's really a different toy store," Dryden said. "It's centered on building and on getting kids to understand how things work and how they're built."

All the toys carried by the business are tested by the Drydens, their two children, ages 6 and 9, and about 10 employees.

Dryden said she also looks for toys that are "open-ended" and that allow children to use their hands and create things, beyond moving parts.

The store, which also does birthday parties, also needs extra space to continue to provide that service to the community.

Children show up at the store and celebrate with friends by sitting in the back part of the store building toys. But the space is cramped.

The Drydens also hope the extra space on North Santa Cruz Avenue will allow them to offer classes for children on building cars, or how to put a catapult project together.

The classes will be taught by the Drydens, its employees or specialized instructors.

The store is about to grow from 1,600 square feet to 2,700 square feet, Dryden said, adding that 400 of its square footage is used for office space, storage and bathroom.

The Drydens are looking to sell their lease for the current location, which ends in June of 2014. "We're hoping someone will come before it ends and leases the spot. It's been great for us. It's still central to the town. It's really close to Icing on the Cake and gets lots of traffic due to the farmers' market on Sunday," she said.

No doubt Automobuild will see more traffic on North Santa Cruz Avenue, the popular shopping strip in downtown Los Gatos, where it will also enjoy more parking spaces.

The current West Main Street location has parking on the back, Dryden explained, but customers still have challenges finding a place to leave their vehicles to shop at the store.

The business is also adding more toy products to its line and more events, Dryden said. "We're just so excited that everyone has supported us so far and that we're continuing to expand."

Automobuild's online ordering service is also growing and boasts thousands of customers in town and across the nation with some coming from as far away as New York.

Dryden said such patrons bring suitcases to fill up with toys because they know the products are hand-picked and have been tried and tested.

Automobuild is not a franchise, but due to its success, the Drydens are considering growing and expanding. They indicate there aren't that many toy stores in the country that cater to boys who are into cars and building and girls who like to construct.

The store carries books, Legos, cars, science kits, robotics, Mattel toy products, a lots of arts and crafts. There's even a baby section.

Automobuild began a 20 percent storewide sale Wednesday, Sept. 4, except for Legos. The sale continues until Sunday, Sept. 8. There are also items that are 50 percent off.

The store could reopen for business at its new location on Friday or Saturday, Sept. 13-14, Dryden said.

If anyone is interested in leasing the Automobuild space on West Main Street they should contact Dryden at 408-402-3818, or email her at kdryden2@yahoo.com.

The new store hours will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.

Maria Ristow September 05, 2013 at 09:58 PM
I am glad to see this local business thrive. I shop here for my young niece and nephews. Always happy to find a great place to shop in town!
Lynne Bryant, CS September 05, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Oh what a fun store! Best of luck in the new location!
carol musser September 06, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Good wishes to you....you made your choice on your business decisions. I shop at your store and I attended my grandson"s party. You can make it happen. You know what you need to do.
Julian Groft September 06, 2013 at 01:20 AM
there goes my pay check
Jim Gough September 06, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Not exactly breaking news (despite the alert on the page and headline on Facebook - the signs have been up in the space for over a week), but good on Automobild for getting a better location!


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