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BigBadToyStore expanding in Somerset

This is just some of the BigBadToyStore's overstock. The facility needs more space for inventory, offices, packaging, receiving and retail.

The BigBadToyStore in Somerset is getting bigger.

The online toy store, founded in 1999 by Somerset natives and brothers Joel and Dan Boblit, is starting its second expansion since the initial 12,000-square-foot facility was constructed in 2003.

The company added 12,000 square feet to the facility in 2007 and now a 28,800-square-foot addition is underway at the facility located at 321 SMC Drive in Somerset.

Construction started in September 2011 and is expected to be finished by May 1.

When completed, the facility will contain 52,800 total square feet.

Co-owner Joel Boblit said the expansion was necessary to meet the needs of the growing business.

"We're growing every year. Last year we grew a lot. This year we are up from last year. Business has been really great," Boblit said.

Boblit said more space is needed in pretty much every facet of the company -- inventory, office, packaging and receiving.

"Right now there's a lot of product being shuffled around two or three times, products are being stacked in the aisles. There's just nowhere else to put things," Boblit said.

While about 5,800 square feet of the expansion will be devoted to office space on two floors, Boblit says the bulk of the new addition will be used for production and packaging.

The new addition will enable the business to be more efficient from an operational standpoint, he said.

About 400 square feet of the new addition will be devoted to a retail store, something the BigBadToyStore didn't previously offer.

The store is being added primarily to gain access to product lines from vendors who will only deal with brick and mortar companies, Boblit said. But it will also provide a walk-in shopping option for local toy collectors.

In the store there will be a small display area featuring some of what the business offers, as well as a computer kiosk so customers can access the entire BigBadToyStore inventory.

"We've got one of the most comprehensive selections of current action figures from a bunch of manufacturers around the world. We have a lot of products that you can't find in the mass market at all," Boblit said.

The BigBadToyStore carries a full selection of licensed action figures, both recent and vintage, from all of the top companies, including Hasbro, Hot Toys, Mattel, Diamond, Takara, LEGO, Bandai, Medicom, Kotobukiya, MaFarlane Toys, NECA, Yamato, Mattel, Sideshow Collectibles, Fansproject, Gentle Giant, Dark Horse Comics, and hundreds more.

Boblit feels optimistic that the business will continue to grow.

BigBadToyStore currently employs about 35 people and Boblit feels the new addition will give the business enough space for years to come.

"We've built a loyal customer base. We've worked really hard to keep everyone happy and it's worked out well," Boblit said.

St. Croix Economic Development Corp. honored BigBadToyStore as the 2004 Emerging Business of the Year in St. Croix County. For more information about the store, go to www.bigbadtoys