Toy Boat had 35 employees when all four locations were open, but now Mike and Lori Curtin run the Corona del Mar store with a few people helping out on weekends and for a few hours on weekdays during the summer.
Inside, customers are greeted by warm smiles, pleasant conversation and maybe a toy suggestion.
Lori Curtin, who wears a necklace with a small anchor charm, said her husband bought it for her when they first bought all the stores in 2007. When her daughter, Chloe, was born almost three years ago, Curtin traded the anchor necklace for a necklace bearing her daughter's name.
"When things started to get rough around here, I put the anchor necklace back on," she said. "I hoped it would bring some luck with it."