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Bud’s Farm Toys marks silver anniversary

FPS staff report

Buds Farm Toys
What started as a small store in the bottom of their basement has grown into a family business known as Bud’s Farm Toys. Owners Bud and Cheryl Garner are shown above in the W. Main St., Carrollton, store.

Bud’s Farm Toys is celebrating 25 years in the business of selling toy tractors and die-cast farm equipment. The owner, Bud Garner, has been selling farm toys since 1985.

Bud has always loved farming, having farmed with his father and grandfather for many years. Bud graduated from Buckeye Career Center after studying Ag and Diesel mechanics, served as an officer in his local FFA chapter, participated in 4H and Steer club all through his youth. He even briefly pulled his tractors in local tractor pulls (unfortunately not doing better than 4th place) This didn’t lessen his love for the big tractors and equipment that he and his family used on the farm. Bud has been around farm equipment all of his life. It’s no wonder that he has such a passion for farm toys and the history and heritage that these models represent.

Bud began collecting farm toys at a young age. He would collect mostly 1/64 scale tractors. These were smaller, less expensive, and easier to display. His favorite tractors are the old Case tractors, but he does have toy tractors from other manufacturers in his collection. At that time farm toys were sold almost exclusively at tractor dealerships. A person could only buy International toys at an International dealer and so on. At Christmastime you could find farm toys at the tractor supply store but only with limited selection.

When Bud discovered that there was a national publication (The Toy Farmer), for his unique hobby and that many others like him were collecting toy tractors, everything changed. He started attending farm toy shows. At these shows, you could see tables and tables of new and old farm toys. There also weren’t the throngs of small children that you would imagine to be at one of these toy shows. These “children” were grown adults reliving their childhoods, or just trying to find that one model that would complete their collections. Bud knew that he wanted to be part of this group and share their enthusiasm for seeking and finding that toy tractor that would bring back memories of a more simple and meaningful life.

Bud married his wife, Cheryl, in 1984. The following year Bud became a dealer for the Ertl company and Scale Models. Using the basement of their home as a store, he would buy cases of tractors to sell to friends and neighbors. Bud also began setting up small displays at local festivals and county fairs. One of the first displays that he set up was at the Mining Festival, held in Cadiz, Ohio. This was followed by the Harrison and Carroll County fairs. Eventually Bud would set up at all of the surrounding county fairs, as well at farm toy shows, open markets, and steam shows in 8 states. These first displays were simple with much less inventory than their current display. “ We used to store the toys in our garage, then on weekends we would take the car seats out of our minivan and load up the toys to take to a show. We finally got smart and bought a trailer to store the toys in between shows,” Cheryl recalled. “This made it much easier to go to shows and we could put the lawn mower back in the garage.”

In the summer of 1990, retail space became available to Bud and he opened their first farm toy store on the square in downtown Carrollton. It was small but it worked well for them and it was more convenient for their customers. Hours were limited and most of the business was show sales or mail order. By this time Bud and Cheryl had two small daughters so the store was operated around children’s  schedules and their other jobs. Bud’s Farm Toys out grew this small space and would move (twice) before finding its current home, located at 75 West Main Street.

Their inventory has multiplied many times over since those first years in their little store. The hours have expanded to full time and Bud offers a larger selection of farm toys and Ag related memorabilia. There are many more antique and collector edition models to choose from and Bud offers a variety of farm related toys from many popular toy vendors, such as Radio Flyer bikes and wagons, Breyer horses and accessories, Bruder trucks and construction toys, Melissa and Doug’s educational puzzles and wooden toys, Scale Model pedal tractors and much more. Bud’s Farm Toys also does appraisals of farm toy collections, provides information to restore old farm toys, and can help find old discontinued toy tractor models. Bud’s Farm Toys is located at 75 West Main Street, Carrollton, Ohio, 44615. The store is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, and Saturdays 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. You can contact Bud by phoning (330) 627- 5343 or to find out more information visit their website at budsfarmtoys.net.

“ We enjoy sharing our enthusiasm for collecting farm toys with our customers. This hobby has enabled us to make many friends and see lots of interesting places over the years. It’s a wonderful way to share old memories and make new ones. Thanks to all of our friends and patrons for your faithful support over these past 25 years. We have been truly blessed.”


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