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Twilight Toys sells handpicked items in Durango

Ryan Smith works at the downtown Durango location of Twilight Toys, which opened in April. The toy store is located at 600 Main Ave., Suite 105, previously the home of Top That Frozen Yogurt. (Nick Gonzales/Durango Herald)
Toy store has locations downtown and at Purgatory Resort

The downtown Durango storefront at 600 Main Ave., Suite 105, has been a go-to for treats for adults and children alike for a while. Previously, it was the location of Top That Frozen Yogurt. Now, it is Twilight Toys.

Owner Cristina Grave, who is originally from Brazil, moved with her husband to Durango about five years ago, looking for a community in which to raise their two children.

She had previously run a coffee shop at Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico, and noticed that Purgatory did not necessarily have anything for people staying there to do with their kids after a day of skiing.

“I approached Purgatory Resort, and I said, ‘I think you guys need a toy store, a game shop up here that will give some more stuff for people who are staying up here to do in the evenings,’” she said.

Cristina Grave, owner of Twilight Toys, reorganizes her inventory at the downtown location. (Nick Gonzales/Durango Herald)

This led Grave to open the first location of Twilight Toys in Purgatory’s Village Plaza in 2017.

“We had a lot of locals coming up there to shop, and they kept asking us, ‘When are you going to open downtown? We need a toy store downtown,’” she said. “Since the toy stores had closed down here, I decided to take my chance – so now we have a toy store down here as well.”

Grave began looking for a location downtown about two years ago, but few locations matched her criteria – a place that would not only get a good amount of traffic, but also have windows to let in sunlight.

Such a location opened up when Top That closed in December after becoming a lightning rod for political controversy during the 2020 presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the location works perfectly for a toy store, Grave said.

“I think here is perfect because we’re close to the train, we have have the local traffic, but we also have the tourist traffic,” she said.

Cristina Grave said she chooses toys to sell in her toy store based on whether whe thinks her children would play with them for a long time and learn from them. She also sells puzzles, board games, souvenirs, candy and ice cream. (Nick Gonzales/Durango Herald)

Grave hand-picks each product she sells in the store, based on whether she think it would be a quality toy for her own kids – one that they could play with for a long time and learn something from, she said.

“Every time I’m looking at a catalog, I’m thinking of my kids and what they would enjoy and would keep them entertained for a long time,” she said, “and keep them away from electronics, too.”

Grave said she places a high value on spending family time together, which is why the store stocks a wide range of board games and puzzles.

“We believe that it’s very important for a child’s development to have quality toys, games and activities,” she said.

Twilight Toys gets new toys and games on a regular basis and purchases from about 30 different toy vendors, as well as local makers, to get unique products you won’t find at Walmart or other major retailers, Grave said. The store also does its best to accommodate special requests.

“We are here more for the locals than the tourists, and we want to keep our store open year-round, through the winter as well,” Grave said. “We definitely want to make sure we find the right toy for them, the right game for them – or for their loved ones as well, as a gift.”

The downtown Twilight Toys store is its second location. The first opened in Purgatory Resort’s Village plaza in 2017. (Nick Gonzales/Durango Herald)

Business has been great at both of Twilight Toys’ stores, she said, but she plans to keep it to just two locations for the foreseeable future.

“That will probably keep me busy for a while,” she said. “We just opened downtown, and we wanted to make sure we’re doing a great job over here first before we expand again.”

ngonzales@durangoherald.com