There's a tiny little toy store in Venice called Toys and Tales. Much like small, independently owned stores, the selection there is great. I have a hard time leaving without buying something.
Case in point, I found Tools by Taro Miura. Drawn on two pages are a collection of tools, and the following page is a drawing of the person who uses the tools (e.g., electrician, barber, carpenter). My son, who is almost 4, is obsessed with this book. And the teachers at his preschool loved it so much that they picked up a few copies for the school. Highly recommended!
There aren't many small toy stores in the area, so it's nice to patronize the few that we have. The selection of toys and books is so much more interesting than at the big chains. And while there's room for everything in life, loyalty to the little guy means they'll be there tomorrow to help us find that perfect gift or expand our kids' horizons. So go out and find the small local store that you're going to help support :-)