This past Friday, the little one and I took a little road trip to Wilmot, Wisconsin. About 30 minutes from Rock Father HQ in Illinois, Wilmot is home to more than a ‘Mountain,’ but also a warehouse for AMERICAN GIRL, and THE MATTEL TOY STORE. I’d found the latter by accident last year while heading up to Twin Lakes for a rock show. After coming back home, I hit Google to find out just what exactly I’d seen out there on that dark, Fall night. While turning a corner, I spotted a plain white sign that read ‘The Mattel Toy Store.’ Sure enough, the toy maker operates their own chain of stand-alone stores in special locations around the country. A few months ago, we made the trip for the first time. On Friday, we went back.
It’s been a rough few days overall, the crappy weather being peppered with trips to the Doctor (for me) and dealing with some work stress offline. The munchkin has been great, and after hanging with me at the Doc’s (where I nearly passed out after blood was drawn), we pointed the car north to “the special toy store.” She fell asleep on the way, but we were there in no time.
There was that sign again (pictured left).
We parked, and then I had to nudge the little one to wake up. She was not very happy about that, nor the fact that she peed in her training pants. A quick clean-up, and inside we headed…
I don’t know if it’s representative of all Mattel Toy Store locations, but the most impactful detail of the Wilmot store is that it’s largely devoid of fixtures and shelving. The toys are neatly laid out and stacked by kind. To the left is Babies, Toddler, and Girls. To the right, it’s Boys, Seasonal, etc. Since the store is company owned, you get toys not only from Mattel, but also Fisher-Price, etc. Brands available include BARBIE, LITTLE PEOPLE, MATCHBOX, DC UNIVERSE, POWER WHEELS, IMAGINEXT, BATMAN, TOY STORY 3, DISNEY, POLLY POCKET, THOMAS AND FRIENDS, LAUGH & LEARN… basically everything manufactured under Mattel and it’s subsidiaries.
Through either accident or design, most of the toys are perfectly displayed at eye-level for the kids, which makes it fun for the little ones to “discover” toys for themselves. Case-in-point, a pretty cool pull-back HOLLY SHIFTWELL from CARS 2. “Can we take Holly home?” my toddler asked. How could I say “no?” It’s taken awhile, but it seems that everyone has finally caught on that girls like CARS 2 just as much as boys.
Speaking of “cars,” I’ve been on a bit of a mission personally for a HOT WHEELS car that was released in recent months: K.I.T.T. from KNIGHT RIDER. Labeled as the KNIGHT INDUSTRIES 2000, the car is a part of Hot Wheels’ 2012 basic assortment, which means it should be priced around $1. They’re all over eBay, and I just refuse to chase a $1 car into online auction territory. I’m not a “collector,” but I am a big KNIGHT RIDER dork, so I’m confident that one day I’ll find one. No luck on Friday.
The next thing that the little one zeroed in on was a FISHER-PRICE LAUGH & LEARN LANTERN. We’d seen this one before, but she’d not taken interest in it the way she did on Friday. We got it, and all weekend it’s been with her. It sings, plays music, has outdoor noises… maybe I need to do a full review.
As for pricing, this is where The Mattel Toy Store really rocks.
Regular, non-sale prices are close to, if not the same, as you’d see elsewhere. But they have coupons galore, and special savings depending on the day of the week. Then they have specials that are posted monthly on their website. Bottom line is that we left with two toys and a Barbie shopping bag (re-usable) for $13. Comparing apples to apples, Amazon charges $14.99 for the lantern and $10.99 for the car. That’s $26 right there. We bought three items in-store, and it was half that. Completely worth the trip. As a bonus? The two ladies working in the store were super-nice.
The Mattel Toy Store in Wilmot is located at 12400 Fox River Rd. (Entrance located 1/4 mile West on County CK) and is open Weds-Sat from 10am-6pm. Check out their store page here for all the May specials (of which there are many).