Back in 2013, downtown Concord, NH welcomed a new, unusual, addition. Yoyo Heaven is owned and operated by the father and son team Andy and Dan McBride, and it’s exactly what you could expect from the name. They sell assorted ‘skill toys,’ anything that engages people physically and can help build coordination, but the focus is on yoyos. They sell a wide range of yoyos and prices range from $5 to more than $200, and are more than willing to explain the different attributes of all of them.
So what makes one yoyo better (and more expensive) than another? Well, that depends on what you’re doing with it. Those classic yoyos you may remember from childhood are good for getting started and learning basic tricks, but people interested in competing tend to move on to different types of yoyos, with different bearings, strings, and sizes. What kind of yoyo you’re working with also depends on the class of competition you're practicing for.
Here’s a video of Daniel Dietz from the regional competition in Massachusetts in 2011.
There are five classes of yoyo competitions, 1A-5A, all with different classifications and rules. For instance, 1A uses string trick yoyos, one non-responsive (they don’t come back when you tug on the string) in the throw hand, while 4A is “offstring” and you use a larger yoyo which is not attached to the string, meaning you might throw the yoyo and then catch it back on the string.
Although yoyos are their forte, Andy and Dan sell other skill toys as well. Some of most the most popular are juggling accessories, kendamas, Astrojax, marbles, and hacky sacks.
In case you're wondering:
A kendama is a souped up version of a ball and string, in a cup. A kendama has three cups on it, it has a spike on it and the object of the game is to go from cup to cup to cup and then back onto the spike. It’s great for hand-eye coordination, it’s kind of addictive, and it is definitely a skill toy. It’s an easy toy to get used to; it’s a hard toy to master.
Astrojax is basically a physics toy. It’s got a ball on each end of it and a ball in the middle, and as you tug on one end of it, the other end will work its way up so you can juggle with it…one of the great things that I like about it is, pretty much out of the bag, you can work with it. There’s little requirements to start it, but a good bit of time to master it, like a yoyo.
We also support the hacky community, so hacky sacks are still alive and well. We support them with the standard hacky sack but we also carry a special line from Bomb Bag, those have special fills in them, they respond differently. Like a yoyo…footbags can be manufactured to do certain things.
Here is Dan McBride showing off some on the spot yoyo-ing.
The store is located at 132 ½ North Main St in Concord and will be participating in Market Days, July 17th to the 19th. Daniel Dietz, a nationally recognized yoyo-er will be throwing in front of the store all three days, and Andy and Dan will be available to answer any questions you have. To listen to the full story about Yoyo Heaven, click here.