Mystical Toys building sold, store to close at end of year
Mystic — The building that houses Mystical Toys has been sold and the business is closing Dec. 31, but the current owners are looking to sell the business to people who would reopen Mystical Toys in a new location.
Whaler's Inn RE LLC purchased the building at 4 E Main St. for $1.5 million from Frank and Barbara Sinnett in mid-August, according to town records. Barbara owns the Mystical Toys business and Frank is her husband, and they now have a lease agreement for the premises that runs from Aug. 17 to Dec. 31.
Frank Sinnett said Monday that at age 82, and with family members not interested in running the business, "Finally, we said, it's time."
"We have no help, and I can't work every day," he said. He also said it's been difficult to get items in stock.
The Sinnetts got negative publicity last summer when they were accused of racist behavior amid Black Lives Matter protests, and Mystical Toys saw a surge of one-star reviews online. But Frank Sinnett said Monday the decision to sell had nothing to do with that, and people in Mystic were supportive and told them, "Don't let that whole incident affect your business."
He said the past year was the "best year ever" for the business.
Broker Judi Caracausa of Market Realty, located down the street on Cottrell Street, said the building had been listed for sale and there were other interested parties.
Caracausa has been involved with this building for a long time: She said she represented Katherine and Dan Fuller when they sold to Ralph and Karen DiSaia, and the DiSaias when they sold to the Sinnetts. The building previously housed Noyes Dry Goods and Oriental Rugs Ltd.
Market Realty currently has the Mystical Toys business listed for sale for $249,000, and Caracausa said the business will be moving to another location.
"It's not only Mystical Toys; it's a great opportunity to expand that product line, so there's a lot of potential upside to that business," she said. There are "a couple of different locations that we're looking at, and we're talking to a couple different buyers," she said, and anyone who is interested can contact her.
Caracausa said she's working on keeping Mystical Toys in Mystic, "but it's also a brand that can be marketed in other towns and cities."
What will happen with the building?
Both William Sweeney, the attorney representing Whaler's Inn RE LLC, and Amanda Arling, president of The Whaler's Inn, said the buyer has no immediate plans for the building.
"It seemed like a natural symbiosis as a neighboring property to our own," Arling said of the decision to buy. She said it's been a crazy two years with COVID-19 and Whaler's Inn was "just trying to get through a busy summer. We really haven't discussed or talked (about) any long-term plans."
"Our sole focus and goal right now is to make sure that our team and our staff are taken care of and that we're able to provide high-quality lodging," Arling said.
As of Monday, the most recent document on file for 4 E Main St. in the Stonington Building Department was an October 2020 application for a heating-air conditioning permit.
Sweeney said Whaler's Inn RE LLC, in which the RE stands for real estate, is a holding company that is a separate entity from the Whaler's Inn itself. The limited liability company also purchased 11 Cottrell St. — which houses CROP Boutique Hair Salon, the clothing store Rochelle's, and the sunglasses shop Shades of Mystic — last September.
Earlier this year, the LLC sought approval from the Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission to merge the Odd Fellows lot at 11 Cottrell St. and a vacant lot at 1-3 Haley St. that previously had two homes, to create a parking lot. The commission approved the site plan application in April, and the town recorded this quitclaim deed in July.
In 2018, the owners of The Whaler's Inn had demolished the two houses at 1-3 Haley St., as well as the building at 9 Cottrell St. that previously housed John's Mystic River Tavern. Whaler's Inn 9 Cottrell LLC had purchased 9 Cottrell St., which was between The Whaler's Inn and the businesses at 11 Cottrell St., in December 2017.