Owner of retail outlets buys into toy race car production facility

Photo: archive of Faro

Petr Homolka, the owner of the dozens of toy chain store outlets such as Sparkys and Bambule, has bought a Plzeň production facility which produced toy racing car circuits under the brand name Faro in socialist Czechoslovakia, iDnes.cz reports. The toy racing system at the time was popular throughout the whole of the Soviet bloc.

Photo: archive of Faro
The owner of the holding company Wormelen group, news site Lidovky.cz writes, has gained a 51 percent stake in FAROfactory, which, as a national company in former communist Czechoslovakia produced toy racing car circuits since the 1960s. According to iDnes, the firm was the sole producer of such electric racing circuits on Czechoslovakia and for a long period they had no challengers on the Soviet and eastern European market. In those days, Faro produced 100,000 units annually.

Today, the volume of produced sets is far smaller, in the thousands, but demand is high. Currently the race car set, popular among aficionados at least partially influenced by nostalgia, has momentarily sold out. A new financial injection from the new majority owner and investor should change that: production of the toy is expected to be expanded, units are to be stocked on toy store shelves and there is even a possibility of exporting once again to Russia. Nobody expects to break the bank with the sets but Mr Homolka made clear it would be a shame to let the product die.

iDnes.cz writes that even for him the project was a nostalgic cherry on top of more lucrative and important business deals. Mr Homolka made his first mark in the sector last year when he bought more than 100 stone-and-mortar Bambule, Sparkys, and HM Studio shops. Homolka admitted that nostalgia had played a role but also told the news site that it would be a shame to lose the existing know-how and suggested there was a possibility for a certain synergy which could inject a new impulse in domestic toy production. In other words, why import items which could be produced at home?

FAROfactory had reportedly sought an investor for some two years and was underfunded; now a new chapter beckons in toy sores; until now the sets were sold only at speciality hobby stores and online.