Unicorn moves back to Main Street

Although it may not be possible to go home again, moving next door is a definite option. After a five-year hiatus at 53 North Second St., The Unicorn Gifts and Toys is moving to 242 E. Main St., next to its original location of 14 years.

The store first opened in 1988.

The owners say they are happy to be back in full view of the Main Street shoppers.

"What I've noticed in the past two weeks, last week especially, is the public is welcoming us back," said sales rep and soon-to-be Unicorn owner Brian Beels. "Although we were on North Second Street, they didn't know we were only a few blocks away."

The circumstances for both moves pertained to upcoming leases and the changes in the business environment. The move to North Second Street from East Main was an experiment Brian Beels found to be "a marvelous transition time."

"53 North Second had parking and a really good building," Brian Beels said. "Business was viable at that location, especially during the changing business climate."

According to Brian Beels, the original location was "H" shaped and provided challenges in staffing and product placement. It caused the store to need more employees and certain product lines had more space than necessary.

"In one way, it was great to be in that space, (Second Street)" Brian Beels said. "It was a milder overhead for the market turndown."

The current location, which opens today, has about the same footprint it had when the store originally opened in 1988.

Brian Beels believes the new location will be more manageable and will better market the product lines, of which they carry over 100.

Unicorn owner Marilyn McCurry said the Christmas tree tradition at the Unicorn would continue, with around 14 different trees displayed at the new location.

McCurry's daughter Karen is married to Brian Beels and the couple plans on continuing the Unicorn tradition while expanding the product lines as they take ownership.

"We've added lots of new lines," said Karen Beels, as she showcased the new magic department, complete with a puppet rabbit in the hat. "We're really excited about this."

The Unicorn will continue to carry the products it is known for, including an Ashland exclusive on Playmobile products, and its line of Hantel Miniatures. The Unicorn is one of only six outlets nationwide that feature the Scottish miniatures.

"They are just very, very special," Brian Beels said.

McCurry added, "They are very prized by collectors."

McCurry hopes the shop will continue to be the landmark Christmas location it has always been.

"Oh yes, they remember Christmas here," McCurry said. "People would check into the Columbia Hotel, drop off their bags and come right over here.

McCurry assured the public the "magic mirror" will return.

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