Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

A whole new octopus: Inland changes look, re-opens doors

“My kids love it here,” said Walla Walla mother Cindy as she browsed the Inland Octopus toy store on Main Street. “We come here all the time.”

Inland Octopus held its grand re-opening this Saturday, Sept. 15, after undergoing some changes, with an additional 300 square feet to accommodate its growing inventory. The store stayed open during the expansion.A whole new octopus: Inland changes look, re-opens doors | Photo by Glory Bushey

The event was well attended and featured a radio station, a live band (Irish group The Rogues) and complimentary food. “Sparkly the Clown” also entertained children and festive balloons and costumes created a fun atmosphere for the many children present.

With the expansion, the store has increased its book section and now has a section of Christmas toys and supplies. Also in the back is a large model train display that owner Bob Catsiff made himself in only 20 days “out of Styrofoam and a steak knife.”

Inland Octopus opened in 2004, when Catsiff quit his job as a quality assurance manager and decided to do something more fun. That year, the local branch of KB Toys shut down and Catsiff hurried to fill the gap in the market. The store was almost immediately a success. “We were in the black very quickly,” said Catsiff.

Catsiff said his mission statement is to provide toys that “inspire thought, activity and
happiness through accomplishment.” He attempts to sell toys that bigger stores like Wal-Mart don’t carry. “We don’t butt heads with the big boys. We survive well under their radar,” Catsiff said.

Instead of the action figures and electronic games that dominate the toy section in Wal-Mart, Inland Octopus sells many educational and hands-on toys. “A lot of people come in and see things they’ve never seen before,” said Catsiff.

“My kids really like their science kits,” Cindy said, as her son Quinn eyed an X-Stream Air Rocket kit. “It’s like no other place in town.”

The store is also heavily involved with the community. Following the Christmas parade each year, children wait in line at Inland Octopus to see Santa and participate in other festivities.
Inland Octopus is located at 220 E. Main and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Toy Spotlight

Toy:”Professional Cartoonist” kit
Price: $19.99
Thoughts: Awesome. This kit includes pens/pencils, a guide, animation strips, flipbooks and an animation zoetrope.

Toy: Pirate Hide-Away
Price: $19.99
Thoughts: After careful examination, I have discovered that this is actually some sort of bath toy, featuring a “soapy volcano” and several plastic pirates. Looking at the giant picture on the box, I’m wondering how this will fit in a tub with the kid. Long gone are the days of simple rubber ducks… oh wait, those are down the next aisle.

Toy: Play at Home Saxophone
Price: Unknown
Thoughts: This plastic saxophone has 18 songs that play when you press buttons, a good alternative to shelling out hundreds or thousands for an actual saxophone? Maybe. Plus, it looks like you can turn down the volume.

Toy: Disgusting Anatomy Brain
Price: $19.99
Thoughts: “Make a Gross Life-size Brain. With Bonus Eyeball Kit!” I wish everything I purchased came with a bonus eyeball kit, don’t you? Why didn’t my biology professor use this as a teaching device, anyway?

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