A fun, education-themed toyshop will soon join the retailers of Silver Spring Drive.
ThinkTOYS! will hold a grand opening Friday at its newly-remodeled storefront at 308 E. Silver Spring Dr. , according to business owner Michael Morelli. A special, grand opening sale will begin Monday, July 4.
According to the company’s website, “thinkTOYS! believes what your child plays with has an impact on their development. So, we focus on selling toys that take "fun" and turn it into education. Of course, there has to be some time for plain old fun, so we also carry toys that are more main stream.”
Morelli, a Shorewood native, said although there is an abundance of toy shopping options in the market, no other store is quite like thinkTOYS! He puts a special emphasis on education-themed items and superior customer service.
“You can get toys all over the place, but they’re not really focusing on the educational market,” he said. “I truly believe what we offer in our store is unique and the experience is going to be like no other.”
In addition to puzzles, board games and arts and crafts supplies, thinkTOYS also features products intended for autistic children and those with learning disabilities.
Morelli said these items were added in response to what he heard from customers at the store’s original location in Mayfair Mall, which opened in November 2010.
“We pay close attention to what our customers ask for,” he said.
Although education-themed toys are his calling card, Morelli said thinkTOYS also carries mainstream brands like LEGO, Melissa and Doug and Angry Birds.
“You can’t have a toy store without LEGO,” he said.
Environmentally friendly toys are also available, and the safety of all products is guaranteed, he said.
Throughout Morelli’s retail career, he said he’s learned that customer service is what truly builds a business. In order to compete with well-established brands like Amazon, Walmart and Toys R’ Us, Morelli said he goes above and beyond to ensure buyers’ satisfaction.
“The true key is customer experience,” he said. “We are going to take pride in our relationships, and continue to develop them as we continue to open up stores across the U.S.”
He also touted the benefits of physically visiting a store to test and touch toys before buying.
"You can’t touch it or feel it online,” Morelli said. “You’ll be able to come in and literally pick anything off the shelf and try it.”
ThinkTOYS! carries products with a wide price range, anywhere from 25 cent Iwako Japanese Erasers and heading upward into items costing several hundred dollars, Morelli said.
The 1,400-square-foot Whitefish Bay location is twice the size of his shop in Mayfair and will host a larger selection of high-end merchandise, he said. The interior, which was designed in part by Morelli’s mother, features custom tiling that creates a “boutique” feel, he said.
Morelli said he spent about $50,000 remodeling the space, which formerly housed Oom Yung Doe, a martial arts business.
He will hire about three new employees and offer special discounts to area educators, he said.
“We hope to be well received,” he said.