Photo credit: Tony Hoffman

A retail store is finding a novel way to continue supporting the Toys for Tots Foundation.

Before the recession, Northwest Hot Spring Spas with stores in Burlington and Ferndale, Wash., was a Toys for Tots drop-off spot, easily filling one or two spas at each location. When the economy struggled, so did the donations.

“Toys for Tots has always been and always will be near and dear to our hearts, and we wanted to find a way to still make them our priority charity,” said Dan Hyatt, who owns the stores with his wife, Cori.

Enter the benefit concerts the store has been organizing since 2009. The Hyatts’ daughter Sarah took her parents to a LeRoy Bell concert in Seattle, and the idea was hatched. They convinced a local theater to host the first concert in November 2009, and Bell agreed to perform. The concert raised $2,000 for Toys for Tots. Bell performed again in 2010 with similar results, but couldn’t commit to the 2011 event because he was appearing on Fox’s “The X Factor.” Austin Jenckes, who later appeared on NBC’s “The Voice,” was booked for the 2011 concert.

“We loved these annual concerts but were looking for a way to go even bigger, and to raise even more for the local Toys for Tots chapter,” Hyatt said. In 2012, Northwest Hot Springs Spas teamed with other local businesses to have the concert, with Bell again performing, at a local winery in the summer – and raised $14,000. Last year, the event raised $23,724.

“This event has become one of the top events of the summer for our area,” Hyatt added.

The annual event is planned for Aug. 23 at Eagle Haven Orchard & Vineyards, with singer David Nellis opening for Bell.