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Corona del Mar Today: Toy Boat store to stay open, owner says

August 04, 2012|By Amy Senk

A cash mob may have saved Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat, which was scheduled to close this week but instead remains open with brisk business, its owner said.

"We thought we would be packing up right now," Lori Curtin said in an interview, squeezed between customers and gift wraps. "This has been such a blessing. I don't even know what to say."

Lori and her husband, Mike Curtin, announced last week that financial troubles had forced them to close three of the four Toy Boat branches, and that the Corona del Mar location at 3331 E. Coast Highway might close at the end of business on July 31.

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As word spread of the couple's plight, longtime customers of the iconic toy store began stopping by to shop and show support. One fan called radio host Bill Handel of KFI AM 640, who decided to sponsor a cash mob this week, bringing hundreds of customers from as far away as Long Beach and other cities to shop and infuse the business with much-needed cash.

More than 600 toys were sold in just a few hours, Curtin said, and other supporters made cash donations.

The next day, she and her husband met with their landlord and worked out an arrangement. They gave him a large portion of money owed for back rent and promised to pay back the remainder over time. The rest of their cash mob money will go to pay taxes, vendors and to replenish inventory.

The Curtins hope to hang on until Christmastime, the biggest season for a toy business.

"That's our goal," Lori Curtin said. "We're doing better. This has been huge."

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National Night Out

The Newport Beach Police Department will participate in the 29th annual National Night Out event scheduled for Tuesday — the first time the city has participated since 2008 because of budget cuts.

The nationwide event will include a safety fair and a community barbecue from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Bonita Canyon Sports Park.

"Bring your friends, family and neighbors and join as we give crime 'A Going Away Party,'" the police website states.

The event will include information on crime and drug-abuse prevention, home security, child safety, the Citizens Police Academy and police volunteers.

The Newport Beach Fire Department will cook and serve hamburgers and hot dogs, and there will be games, crafts, face painting for kids and an appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog.

Free child I.D. safety kits also will be provided, and parents can take photos of kids next to police vehicles.

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