From Cool News of the Day (reveries.com):
Those coin-operated, fiberglass kiddie rides that used to be outside corner stores are finding nostalgia and novelty among baby boomers and their kids, reports Raymund Flandez in The Wall Street Journal (3/25/08). Damon Carson is there to cash in on the nostalgia. As founder of Kiddie Rides USA, he acquires the old rides, restores -- and sometimes customizes -- them for individuals, small-business owners, and even some big brands. Keith DeWitt paid $2,000 for a kiddie ride because he thought his grandchildren would enjoy it, installing it in "his trophy room above the garage."
Scott Innes, who has been the voice of Scooby Doo, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, "bought four rides -- a Jetson car, a Flintstones car, a Batmobile and a tusked razorback" adding them to Scoop 'N Doos, his chain of Hollywood-themed ice-cream parlors. This was more than just a nice touch -- Damon says the kiddie rides have attracted customers and figures he's "quadrupled his investment of $8,000 in about two years." Says Scott: "They're an instant throwback from your older days ... I couldn't keep the adults out of them."
Wells Fargo, meanwhile, ordered up five stagecoach rides, re-painted in the brand's colors and with the company name on them, too. The rides now grace "the company's corporate museums, which explore Wells Fargo's role in shaping of the American West." The rides typically cost somewhere between two and six grand, "as much as 60 percent less than the cost of a new ride." These days, a turn can be had for a quarter or two, although they are often "re-tooled run at the push of a button." After all, "their real earning power is in the goodwill they engender with both kids and their parents."
That's "Sandy the Wonder Horse" pictured above. Sandy and his clones were once found in front of every general merchandise and hardware store across the country. Some are still there: Sandy's the workhorse of the kiddie ride clan. The dimes those Sandys have collected over the years equal big bucks. (Pun intended.) They's have paid for any number of things from store remodels to vacation condos. And the article is right: the goodwill they engender is absolutely priceless!