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 13, covering 9 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 2019.jpg

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, CMSR

Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia

Phone:  678-595-3062

Fax:  800-650-8904

E Mail:

In May 2019 Valerie achieved ASTRA’s Certified Master Sales Representative (CMSR)! She is a transplanted New Yorker, or, as she says it "New Yawker" - she got smart and moved south in 2012. 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 including 2019.


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, CMSR

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 testing department with 3 young children at home. You can trust her opinion based on her research! She understands 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 4 years in a row!

dee 1.JPG

Dee Senter

South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia

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

North Carolina

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. 


Daryll Gunter

Florida, Georgia

Phone: 850-838-6568


Daryll Gunter is a 6th generation Floridian, a combat veteran, and he opened his first business at 21 years old; a video store. He previously owned his own toy store with his wife along with a bear stuffing business.  Some of his favorite family activities include riding trains, the beach and baseball.  Daryll also loves collecting toys and Star Wars memorabilia. He and his wife Dawn, have two outgoing kids, Chip and Amelia. So, if you need any feedback from a kids perspective, he has it.


Gabriella Araujo


Phone: 631-946-3030


Gabriella has over 10 years experience in the gift and toy industry.  She previously owned her own gift store before switching to the rep side!  She currently lives in Celebration, FL with her sister, Rebecca. When not selling toys, Gabriella enjoys going to amusement parks with her friends and family.

Christina 1.jpg

Christina Posso


Phone: 954-496-0992


Christina brings both extensive knowledge of the toy industry and numerous contacts with stores that she has worked with as both a former rep for Diverse Marketing and Toys 2000. Being incredibly thorough in her work, while being just a really kind person, we are so pleased to have her join our team. Christina will be covering South Florida (as well as some of our Caribbean and Central American accounts)


Karen Bortle

Kentucky, Tennessee

Phone: 913-787-3125


Karen is a Kansas transplant who resides in Clarksville, TN. She has gained her professional toy playing experience from spending time with her grandson, Scout. In her free time she enjoys spending quality family time with her daughter Kelsey, son-in-law Drew & Scout. Karen is new to the Sandy Ruben Team though has a wide range of experience in retail management, buying, and the collegiate industry. She has a passion for retail and product and has 15 years experience in retail management and 9 years experience as a buyer. She has an additional 7 years experience as an independent rep and looks forward to covering Kentucky and Tennessee for SRA..

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"!