By Sarrah Peters
Shortly before Memorial Day weekend, Donna Patterson loaded up 50 boxes full of Ty Beanie Babies into a rented U-Haul trailer. In total, 5,472 Beanies made the trip to Foley on the Gulf of Mexico. Kelly Lankford, Donna’s daughter and a member of the Apollos Mystic Ladies Daphne Mardi Gras Association, purchased the Beanies from Little Faces Doll Shop for her association so the toys could be handed out at Mardi Gras functions.
Beanie Babies were extremely popular collectables in the mid-90s, shortly after they came out. Terry Jennings, owner of Little Faces Doll Shop, recalled people offering hundreds of dollars for a Princess Diana Beanie Baby released shortly after the princess’s death. The Beanies were so popular that in 1998 counterfeits emerged. The Beanie Baby bubble burst after only a few years, making the collections almost worthless.
“It went from people fighting to buy them, to people fighting to sell them,” said Jennings.
The Beanie Babies were sold as part of Little Faces Doll Shop clearing out. The 25 year old Broad Street tradition is closing in only a few weeks. Jennings was working at the doll shop when the previous owners decided to sell. Terry’s father, Wayne Jennings, decided to buy the shop, making it a family business.
“Over the last few weeks, so many memories have come,” said Terry Jennings.
Jennings has watched women who adopted a doll as children, bring their daughters to adopt a doll. But Jennings didn’t just sell dolls; she sold other collectable items, including beer steins.
“It’s not just been a store,” said Jennings tearfully. “ It’s meant a lot to the customers.”
Jennings is hosting a Farewell to Little Faces Doll Shop on June 20. She invites the public to come visit and share memories of the store.