|The floor at WeeBee Toys, 492 Shoup Avenue, which is scheduled to open Saturday.|
The store is in the space that used to be home to Idaho Mountain Trading, which has been vacant since IMT moved next door in 2014. As things have transpired, owner Kim Johnson had been thinking about a toy store for some time, but didn’t start to move until earlier this fall.
Until two months ago, Johnson was a licensed therapist with One Tree Counseling, specializing in play therapy with children. In October, she and her husband, Travis, were in Coeur d’Alene for a state girl’s volleyball tournament. Exploring downtown, they visited Figpickles, a locally owned toy store, and the penny dropped.
“We’re such a family-oriented community,” she said. “We both agreed that Idaho Falls could use a specialty toy store of its own. With my knowledge of kids and my husband’s knowledge of business, we thought we’d make a good toy store team.”
Johnson said they will be carrying toys the big box chains don’t stock, brands like Melissa and Doug, Fat Brain Toys and Blue Orange Games. “The are companies that sell to smaller, independent shops,” she said. “They don’t want their products sold online, they want them where kids can try them out and put their hands on them.”
In the old Mountain Trading space, the sales floor will be about 5,300 square feet while a corner in the back, about 1,000 square feet, will be sectioned off for a conference room. Johnson said they hope to have everything from kids’ art classes to parenting classes in the space.
An eastern Idaho native who graduated from Shelley High School, Johnson said she and her husband are optimistic about broadening what downtown Idaho Falls has to offer. “They’ve done a good job of rejuvenating it with grown-up things, but with this and the Artitorium we’re thinking we can make downtown a place where families want to come.”
WeeBee Toys can be found online at weebeetoys.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/weebeetoys.