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By Stacy Drake
Toy store changes hands
Mountain Pastimes has new owners, but same focus
Mountain Pastimes, a Nevada City toy store that has enchanted locals for years, has changed hands in what can only be described as family-friendly takeover. The new guardians are Steve and Tammy Hillis. They replace Kathy and Terry Hillis, who after 28 years have retired from their land of fun and games.

It is expected to be a smooth transition.

“We’ve been preparing for this transition for five years,” Kathy said. “We wanted to keep it in the family, and Steve and Tammy are going to be great for the community and the store.”

Steve and Tammy moved in August from Portland, Oregon, and settled in Grass Valley where they married 20 years ago. They both have deep connections to youth.

They have three children, ages 27, 19 and 18, and have spent their adult lives working with children. Steve is a middle school teacher who currently substitutes at Nevada Union High School, 7-Hills and Union Hill. Tammy has worked as a nanny for the children of teachers that Steve worked with. They also lived in Honduras for a year where Steve taught history and language arts on Roatan Island off the coast of Honduras and Belize until returning to the states in 2011.

Even though under new management, don’t look for the winning business model at Mountain Pastimes to change much.

“The only noticeable change we are going to make is the addition of more educational toys and educational projects,” Steve said.

“I am introducing toys that follow the STEM model of education – those being science, technology, engineering and math works,” Tammy added. “While we will be expanding the learning opportunities, we will keep what people have come to love about our store. Parents bring in their children to buy toys and reminisce about their memories of the store as a child.”

Mountain Pastimes sells toys we all grew up with, including board games, jigsaw puzzles, chess sets, cards, trivia games, game and brain game books, stocking stuffers like yo-yos, jacks, marbles, toy cars and planes, car bingo, kites, art supplies, the list goes on and on. Another offering of Mountain Pastimes rarely available is a magic department, complete with live demonstrations.

“Terry and I feel the best thing we are leaving for Steve and Tammy as they begin their careers as toy store owners is the gift of a customer base that loves them and the store,” Kathy said. “We just had a regular customer come in who is 85 and has 15 great-grandchildren. She keeps coming back because of our personal customer service and gift wrapping.”

Kathy and Terry plan to keep busy in retirement. Kathy will continue her involvement with the Nevada Theatre Commission as liaison to KVMR and doingher Meals on Wheels deliveries. Both Kathy and Terry look forward to well-deserved leisurely road trips and spending more time with family while all the time knowing their business is in good hands.

For more information about Mountain Pastimes, visit the store at 320 Spring Street, call them at 530-265-6692 or visit mountainpastimes.com.
L-R: Kathy Hillis with grandaughter Samantha and her parents, Tammy and Steve Hillis. Tammy and Steve took over management of Mountain Pastimes on Jan. 1. Samantha will be helping in the store.
Photo by Stacy Drake
Daniel Sonnenberg delights Sara Marshall, Marissa Turner and Annie Creasey with a card trick in the magic section of Mountain Pastimes.
Photo by Stacy Drake