While visiting Chicago, I had the pleasure of finding an amazing local toy store called Play. I knew I wanted to share it with you so I got in contact with Ann, the owner of the store to learn more about it Take a look at my interview with Ann below.
When did you first open Play?
We opened the Logan Square location in September of 2010
How did it get its name?
I liked the simplicity of the name and all that it projected. I also think that a child’s experience is not necessarily about the TOY but the PLAY that they derive from it.
Do you have more than one location?
We have 2 locations. Logan Square and Lincoln Park (in Chicago)
What gave you the idea to open a toy store?
I have been in the toy industry for 23 years. Starting with BRIO as a vendor and also as a sales rep for a variety of companies. Then I started a consulting business (The Toy Business LLC) where I helped companies launch into the specialty market.
You have an incredible selection of the best children’s toys and brands. How do you select the toys that you sell?
I try to do the editing for the customer…so we don’t have 12 stacking toys. We have a few of the best ones available. I want our toys to be visually stimulating, educational, and fun. I also like toys and books that are inclusive (whether it’s the actual product or the packaging.) I search through catalogs, online, and trade shows to find all the best things.
Do you have a favorite toy that you sell?
Wow…that’s hard. I would have to say the BRIO as that’s where I got my start in the industry and there are so many amazing things that can be developed through playing with the railway system.
Do you sell online?
Not at this time. We do call-ahead ordering, local deliver, and shipping though!
Do you do any events?
Our stores are small but we offer weekly story times and music classes. We also have some fun seasonal events like Santa visits and Neighborhood Toy Store Day.
Is there anything else you want people to know about your store?
We do everything with intention. The toys and books we choose, the messages we send to the children and the community, our gift wrap, our services. We are looking to create an amazing shopping experience, a resource for the families that shop with us, and to be an engaged member of the communities that we serve.
Learning all this made me love Play even more.!
Take a look at a few toys that caught my eye during my visit.
Velcro pretend play food toys are always a blast. Plus as an OT, I automatically see it as an excellent way to strengthen hands and encourage bilateral coordination (use of both hands together).
Roly Poly rocks back and forth when lightly touched without ever falling over. It is a great toy option for teaching cause and effect and for use during tummy time.
This was the first time that I’ve seen this Bath Time Baby Tots doll and thought it was adorable. From what I read, the dolls are soft, cuddly and quick drying. Love this concept for a bath toy.
Hope you enjoyed reading about one of my favorite toy stores in Chicago, and discovered a few new toys that you love along the way.
Make sure to stop by Play if you’re in the area, and in the meantime learn more about it on their website.