Interior of the Toy Department’s new Fairfield location (photo courtesy of The Toy Department)

The Toy Department Goes Big with 20,000-Square-Foot Store

Inspired by their love for 1980s pop culture, four friends took their fan-favorite Butler County store to a new level of fun.

Toys are a lot more fun when you’ve got friends to share the joy with. Maybe that’s why Chris Neal, Kenny Koepnick, James Sawyer and Matt Mull decided to open The Toy Department — a wonderland of action figures, die-cast cars, trading cards and more from the 1980s.

“The sweet spot for the store is absolutely the ’80s,” says Koepnick, who manages The Toy Department alongside Sawyer, with Neal as owner and Mull as product manager. “There was a pop-culture revolution in the ’80s. Star Wars, Transformers, G.I. Joe, He-Man — they all either were created in the ’80s or had their heyday in the ’80s.”

For adults of a certain age, it’s tough to peruse the store aisles without repeatedly exclaiming a nostalgic “I had that!” In summer 2023, exploring those aisles got a lot more fun after The Toy Department moved into a 20,000-square-foot former Harley-Davidson dealership in the Butler County city of Fairfield — a supersized step up from its original 2,500-square-foot location. The extra space means more room for toys, from vintage finds to newer items such as Funko Pop! vinyl figures.

“We also do get some stuff from the ’50s and ’60s — Hot Wheels, Barbie, Major Matt Mason,” says Koepnick, who notes that the store also buys toys.

He adds that one of the coolest things is when customers bring their kids in who are also interested in still-relevant toy lines such as Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“You just can’t beat a kid running up to the counter excited because he’s getting a new wrestler or a new Luke Skywalker, and he’s just so stoked,” says Koepnick, who has passed his love of toys on to his own son. “It’s a special thing to be able to share with your kids.” 

5960 Dixie Hwy., Fairfield 45014, 513/869-3378,