A local couple has returned from spending a week at Fort Riley Military Reservation to sell educational toys that had not been available at the fort, between Junction City and Manhattan, Kan.
Geoff and Beth Stewart, owners of Belles & Beaus Children's Boutique, had been invited to take part in the U.S. Army and Air Force Exchange Services Program after being seen by an Army official at the Mound City, Kan., Craft Show, said Beth Stewart Tuesday.
"They seek out people with unique lines that families cannot get on base," she said. "We were invited as vendors of Melissa and Doug Toys, which are educationally-based wooden toys, 90-percent geared for learning.
"They're along the line of older toys like pound pegs, stacking rings, wooden puzzles and pull along toys. It's a famous line, very well-known. We did well. The base uses a percentage of the sales for new buildings like auditoriums and for recreational purposes. Their PX (post exchange) is like a Wal-Mart."
Stewart said her husband and she were at the fort Dec. 5 through 9. "The lady asked us to have a permanent booth, but we may go back once a season, the next time around Easter," she said.
"It's four hours away. I was surprised when we first heard from her," via e-mail.
In a news release, a fort spokesman said the Dallas-based Defense Department program provides "quality merchandise and services of necessity and convenience to authorized customers at uniform low prices and generates reasonable earnings to supplement appropriated funds for the support of Army-Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs."