By Morgan Bryce
Associate Editor

A new pop-up toy store will open next week in downtown Opelika in the former home of O Town Ice Cream at 815 S. Railroad Ave.
“All Aboard,” an extension of Michael and Valerie Smith’s retail gift shop Southern Crossing, will have a soft opening party Oct. 1 and grand opening celebration Oct. 6.
Following the closure of O Town’s downtown location in June, Valerie said the noticeable absence of families and children in downtown sparked conversations with Michael of providing them a reason to come back.
“Looking around the downtown area, we asked ourselves, ‘what do we have for kids and children since O Town moved? Nothing,’” Valerie said. “We want this store to not just be a place where you run in and grab a gift, but a place where parents can bring their kids and let them play and have a good time.”
All Aboard will cater to children ranging in age from infant to 12 years old. Through a partnership with the Connecticut-based toy company Melissa and Doug, Valerie said their store’s selection will feature items of interest for boys and girls at an affordable price for parents.
“Melissa and Doug has been and is an excellent company to work with. They work with the big box stores, but they still really care about small businesses like ours,” Valerie said. “We’re going to use the same price guidelines that Melissa and Doug use, plus you’ll get the same free gift wrapping that we offer here at Southern Crossing. In this area, people seem to really understand the importance of shopping local and supporting businesses like ours and others here in downtown, and this shop will give them something unique and different from anything else around here.”
The pop-up will stay open through Christmas, and Valerie said there is a possibility that it will become a permanent storefront if it garners enough community support.
For more information or updates on the shop and its soft and grand openings, like and follow the pop-up’s or Southern Crossing’s social media pages or visit