Inside the 8,000-square-foot location, the staff of Twinkle Twinkle Little Store organizes a collection of gently used, clean children’s gear, from clothing and strollers to books and bassinets. As a consignment shop, they only sell and purchase items that have not been recalled, stained, ripped, or damaged in any way. Though brimming with toys and accessories, the shop is meticulously organized. A fleet of strollers, car seats, and cribs stands in neat rows, and a book nook displays their library beside comfortable reading chairs. As parents browse, kids can play on trampolines, slides, and other equipment in age-specific play zones.
The shop’s values encourage this parent- and kid-friendly style. Before opening the shop, owner Cheryl Courson had struggled to balance her corporate career with motherhood. Frustrated, she decided to create a store that makes life easier for moms. She staffs parents, who may bring their children to work, as well as pregnant moms, joking “their nesting organizational skills are excellent!” She also offers an hourly store-credit wage in return for simple volunteer tasks such as hanging clothing and teaching children about the themes of fatherhood in Ulysses. Regular donations to kid- and mom-centric local charities further root the store in the community.
For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.
Inside Learning Express Toys, children of all ages can find a host of entertaining and educational toys designed by brands such as Lego and Scientific Explorer. Seven days a week, staff members share their enthusiastic attitudes as they help children and parents peruse dolls and accessories, brain-stimulating word games, or science kits that fuel interactive learning. The store frequently holds special events for festive occasions, such as Father's Day and Lego Day, hosting such costumed characters as Santa Claus and welcoming royal delegates from the King of Legoland.
OhConcept's design team scouts fresh-from-the-runway silhouettes, accents, and prints to create their line of trendy urban womenswear. Though its apparel is its most prominent department, the OhConcept look doesn't stop at clothes. Designers also keep an eye on the season's hottest fashions to create glittering jewelry, looping infinity scarves, and whimsical home accents.