A new family-owned toy and book store, Mairzy Doats, will have its grand opening this Saturday at 919 S. College Mall Rd. Owner Kat Pruce said the grand opening will include giveaways, crafts and discounts.
The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Before the pandemic, Pruce said her son loved going to The Brown County Toy Chest, which had temporarily opened in College Mall, because it had toys for children to play with. After it closed, Pruce saw a store like this as a void to fill.
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“He knew it was a space for kids, and he just loved it,” Pruce said. “I missed that there wasn’t a place like that anymore in Bloomington, so I thought it would be fun to set something up that's colorful and has lots of opportunities for play and crafting and games.”
Pruce said it can be hard for parents to shop for their kids if they’re not occupied, so she wanted to make a fun space just for the kids. To create an interactive and welcoming space, Mairzy Doats will have a train table, craft room and a puzzle and game room.
The name Mairzy Doats is a reference to a song of that name from the 40s, by The Merry Macs. Pruce’s father sang it to her and her siblings when they were little.
“It was kind of a whimsical nod to the past,” Pruce said.
Pruce hoped the store would be open in October, but it took her longer than expected to find the right location. She knew she wanted to be on the east side of Bloomington because many families live over there and going downtown with kids is difficult.
The store is where the vitamin and supplement store B-Town Body used to be located, so a lot of work had to be done to transform the space into what Pruce envisioned. B-Town Body was made up of multiple small rooms, which Pruce said wasn’t conducive to a shopping experience. To transform the space Pruce cut the walls down into half walls in order to keep a line of sight in her store.
The Mairzy Doats online store opened in August, but Pruce wanted to be open in person for the holidays. She hopes to continue adding inside her store after the grand opening and plans to finish a Narnia-themed reading room this January or February.
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“I’ve had a lot of family and friends come to do a lot of the build out work, so they’ve been super supportive,” Pruce said. “Right now it's just me, maybe after the holidays I’ll start hiring. It will be a journey to expand.”