Learning Express Toys is moving to new space
By spring, the Learning Express Toys store in Geneva Commons will have a new home with nearby space for hosting more outdoor events for children and their families.
The store, which presently is at 610 Commons Drive, still will stay in the mall, but is moving to a smaller indoor space, with closer proximity to the mall's new outdoor space.
Last year, the Geneva Commons mall created a new outdoor gathering space for customers where they host summer concerts, movie nights and other events.
Learning Express Geneva owner John Flanagan hopes that outdoor space soon will be host to weekly events for his store, including game nights, story times and more.
"We're going to go a little bit smaller and in a lot better location," Flanagan said. "We'll be in the center of everything at the Commons."
Flanagan says he likes his current space, which has served the store well since it moved into Geneva Commons nine years ago.
However, with its main customer base being children, Flanagan said he never liked the proximity to the busy mall drive, feeling it was a little too close to host outdoor events.
With the new space, he said, the store still will be near the drive, but it will just be a walk across the road to get to the new outdoor commons area.
In that area, there are tables, where he hopes the weekly game nights and toy trading nights will occur. There also is a fire pit and seating area, where he envisions nighttime story times near the fire.
There is a big, green space that is presently being used as a skating rink at the mall. That will be used for outdoor play dates, demos, soccer clinics hosted by local clubs, a kids' yoga clinic and more.
"We're going to try to use that as much as possible," he said.
The new location presently is being built out from two stores between Ravenna Nails at 1418 Commons Drive and Azar Jewelers, 1424 Commons Drive.
When complete, he said, it will be about 2,600 square feet, smaller than the current location, which will allow the store to be more manageable.
"It will keep our cost down having a smaller space in the mall, and our inventory lower, so overall cost-wise it goes down so we can focus on bringing in new and better products," Flanagan said.
He hopes to use some of the savings for more costumed character events and similar happenings that make Learning Express the small, local toy store that people love.
"A lot of people said don't go smaller, but I know what sells and this will be good," he said.
To reach Learning Express Toys in Geneva, call (630) 232-8697.
• Amy Williams' column covers all the news of business along the Randall Road corridor from South Elgin to Batavia. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 894-5036.