Last month, Learning Express Toys (LE Toys) hosted a franchise-wide convention in San Antonio, Texas, that included store owners, store managers, home office employees, and vendors. During the event, LE Toys presented its vendors with awards.
So I recently attended the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Marketplace & Academy, which took place in Charlotte earlier this month. While it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as its northeastern counterpart, February’s North American International Toy Fair, it was still a great place to spot new developments in toys and games, especially the latter.
Private equity firm Winona Capital has made a strategic investment in manufacturer and retailer Fat Brain Toys. The new partnership will enable the 12-year-old Fat Brain Toys to serve a much larger audience.
Fat Brain’s headquarters and distribution center will continue to operate from the Omaha, Neb. area. Co-founders Mark and Karen Carson and CFO Dean Giesselmann will also continue in their current leadership roles, as will the rest of the company’s employees.
Fat Brain Toys operates one of the largest online toy stores, as well as two physical storefronts, and wholesales its proprietary products to more than 2,000 retailers domestically and around the world. Sonenshine Partners served as investment banking adviser to Fat Brain Toys.
Legoland Discovery Center Kansas City, Habitat for Humanity Kansas City, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Fat Brain Toys, Sporting Kansas City, and Jose Peppers are building a better tomorrow by bringing There’s No Place Like Home to Kansas City.
There’s No Place Like Home, a year-long campaign celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the classic film The Wizard of Oz, combines fundraising and volunteer efforts to support Habitat for Humanity’s mission to create decent, safe, and affordable housing in partnership with families that would not qualify for conventional home loans across the U.S. The family they built the house for was given a Lego model of Dorothy’s house from the film, and other Habitat families will be given toys courtesy of Fat Brain Toys, which opened its second retail location in Overland Park, Kan., this past May.
cwist, Inc., a free, crowd-sourced, digital library of interactive learning challenges for kids, has entered partnerships with educational game manufacturer ThinkFun, Inc. and online retailer Fat Brain Toys.
cwist features a “wish engine” that helps kids ages 5 to 11 make the connection between the things they want and the effort it takes to get them, as they earn parent-approved rewards upon successful completion of a cwist challenge.
cwist will develop challenge content for its platform that enhances the learning experience with ThinkFun’s products and programs. cwist will also cross promote, support and create challenge content for ThinkFun’s events and programs such as Big Games and community game nights. [Read more...]
Makedo, reusable creative play that transforms everyday and recycled materials into play objects, has landed in the U.S. Makedo is now being carried by specialty retailers, including Fat Brain Toys and MindWare, through Toysmith, Makedo’s exclusive U.S. distributor.
Makedo encourages kids to get on the floor and make stuff with their hands, while facilitating unstructured play. With every person having slightly different packaging materials at their fingertips, each Makedo creation is an individual, one-of-a-kind creative expression. As they transform the stuff around them—primarily found or reclaimed materials, such as cardboard boxes and plastic containers—into play objects, kids let their imaginations and creativity run free.
Each Makedo kit includes a safe-saw for cutting and punching through materials safely, re-clips, and lock-hinges for connecting. Makedo features Find & Make, Freeplay, and Cup Critter ranges. Find & Make is guided, project-based creativity, with creations such as a make a robot, plane, or car. The Find & Make kits also include themed decorative stickers, illustrated step-by-step instructions and an inspiration poster. Freeplay is open-ended and leaves the imagination in total control. Makedo’s Cup Critter range is a complete activity for young kids, allowing them to easily transform coffee cup packaging into a cute creature.
This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.