Sales Representatives

Sandy Ruben

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi

PO Box 849, Hillsborough, NC 27278 

Phone:  843-696-4464

Fax:  800-801-7493

E Mail:

Sandy began his career in early childhood, where he worked for 10 years as both a director and teacher. He was co-founder of two Children’s Coop day care centers in Cambridge, MA. During that time, he received a M. Ed in Administration from Cambridge College.
His toy career began in 1985, where he founded Sandy And Son Toy Store (later named Stella Bella Toys) in Cambridge, MA. Sandy owned and operated the store the first 13 years of it’s 31 year existence.
Sandy Ruben and Associates was founded in 1999. For a number of years, it was simply Sandy covering 6 states by himself. Since it’s origins, Sandy has personally driven close to a million miles! The organization has grown to rep group of 10, covering 8 states.
Sandy is committed to both the Specialty Toy Industry and to ASTRA. He has been a member of ASTRA for over 20 years. He has been a panelist/presenter at their conferences, as well as serving on their Board of Di-rectors (2003-2005).

Tom Darnell

Tennesee, Kentucky

Phone:  615-945-8939

Fax:  931-358-0373

E Mail:


Tom has 25 years servicing the mid-South as a sales representative in the specialty toy industry. He is from and lives in Clarksville, TN with his wife Elizabeth and their children Jack Thomas and Sarah Catherine. Tom is an avid fan of the University of Tennessee Vols!

Katherine Hodges

North Carolina, South Carolina

Phone:  919-244-8774

Fax:  919-800-3001

E Mail:


Katherine’s entire career has been in the specialty toy industry. Her first job was in a specialty toy store at the age of 15 and that retailer continued to employ her as a store manager and multi-location buyer until one day she bought their company. Katherine owned her stores for 10 years before becoming a sales representative. She won ASTRA Sales Rep of the Year in 2018 and realized this year that she has been to Toy Fair over 30 times! She lives in Garner, NC with her supportive husband John and their son Taylor.

Don Smith

Georgia, Alabama

Phone:  919-749-8038

Fax:  706-850-0132

E Mail:

Don worked in the retail industry for the past 40 years, 23 of those years in the toy industry. He was a co-owner of a toy store with 2 locations in North Carolina. Prior to coming to Sandy Ruben and Associates, he was a sales rep and area sales manager with GUND. When not travelling and selling toys, you’ll most likely find him acting, directing, and singing at Town & Gown Players in Athens, GA. Don has been nominated for ASTRA’s Sales Rep of the Year multiple times.

Valerie Bernstein

Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia

Phone:  678-595-3062

Fax:  770-426-4471

E Mail:

Valerie is a transplanted New Yorker, or, as she says it "New Yawker". She got smart and moved south 26 years ago! Valerie started her sales career in the Aerospace Industry and eventually decided toys were just more "FUN"! She and her family divide their time between their home in GA and their lake house in AL. Valerie has been nominated for ASTRA’s Sales Rep of the Year several years in a row.

Misty Blalock Audish

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia

Phone:  704-258-7367

Fax:  704-353-7893

E Mail:

Misty lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband. She had 12 years sales experience in the gift industry, including years as a Gund rep, before joining Sandy Ruben & Associates in 2014. Misty is dedicated to developing productive business relationships with her customers. On Sundays in the fall, you’ll find Misty cheering on the Carolina Panthers!

Rachel Jones

Virginia, Outer Banks

Phone:  218-230-8898

Fax:  888-898-9864                                                       

E Mail:

Before Rachel moved to Chesapeake, Virginia, she owned a popular store in Scottsdale, Arizona called Sugar Magnolia. Rachel thought it only fitting to go into toy sales after the move since she has a built in toy test-ing department with 3 young children at home. You can trust her opinion based on her research! She under-stands the importance of each order and loves to help her customers with just about anything to do with their businesses. Rachel believes it's about the relationship more than anything. Rachel has been nominated for ASTRA’s Sales Rep of the Year for the past 3 years.

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Dee Senter

South Carolina, Mississippi

Phone: 803-414-7207

Fax: 803-675-0795

E Mail:

Dee has over 10 years experience in the specialty toy industry owning two stores before joining the Sandy Ruben team. A Florida native and Appalachian State University Alum, she and her husband Stuart have called South Carolina home for 23 years now. They have two children, Zachary and Joshua. When not selling toys she and her family enjoying spending time on the waters of Lake Murray.


Catherine Coury

South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida

Phone: 732-841-9372



Catherine Coury, a native North Carolinian, has spent her professional life of 20 years selling GUND, plush toys.  Getting her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from NCSU, truly helped her career to better understand and grow her customers.  Her motto is ‘If the customer’s happy, we’re all happy!’.  Catherine, and her husband, Scott have two beautiful children, Mason & Maddy Mae.  They love being product testers and great hands on research for their mom.  If Catherine’s not out there selling, she’s on a beach somewhere, count on it!!

Kirsten Ruben

Sales, Administration and Commissions

Phone:  919-732-3048

Fax:  800-801-7493

E Mail:

Chris Lowe

Showroom Manager and Marketing

Phone:  404-831-0042

E Mail:

Chris opened her first toy store Bean Head Toys in Atlanta in 2007 when she saw there was avoid in her in her area for a typical neighborhood toy store. By 2011, she had opened her second store smack dab in the heart of Buckhead. Chris enjoyed running both stores, working with her customers, and doing all the buying for seven years but then decided she liked the other side of toys; the showroom side. She lives in Sandy Springs, GA. with her husband Kevin and they are enjoying being empty nesters with the youngest child in college and two oldest working in the "real world"!