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Friday, April 5, 2013

Train Wreck: Ownership Change Causes Stir for Valley Park Railroad Shop

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 8:45 AM

click to enlarge The new Frisco Train Store has its grand opening April 5-7. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Via Facebook
  • The new Frisco Train Store has its grand opening April 5-7.

The recent closure of a popular children's destination in Valley Park has led to an online backlash with parents complaining that the venue left them in a lurch.

"It's been quite a nightmare. We were getting trashed on Facebook before we even opened," says Kristin Berry, owner of the Frisco Train Store that last weekend took over the space previously occupied by Whittle Shortline Railroad.

Last month Whittle Shortline Railroad moved to a new location in Kirkwood, leaving behind the historic hotel in Valley Park where it had earned a national reputation for manufacturing wooden toy trains and being a popular destination for kiddie play dates and birthday parties.

A status update on Whittle's Facebook page this week, which announced that it had moved and was no longer open to the public, generated more than a dozen comments from confused and upset parents.

whittle_complaints.jpg

At issue are the birthday parties that Whittle booked prior to closing down its business in Valley Park in late February.

Berry, who had previously worked for Whittle owner Mike Whitworth, says she agreed to take over some of those parties when she opened up her new train store in the old hotel. But it turns out that Whittle had booked many more than she realized -- even after the company knew it was leaving.

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