Wonder!, the nation's largest children's retailer, is having a
grand opening of its Deerfield store on Oct. 29. The party will
feature the mega-popular kids band, Ralph's World, open play toys
and art tables, and healthy snacks from Bean Sprouts Cafe. The
first 100 people to make a purchase will receive a Wonder! gift
card in amounts from $5 to $100.
On Sunday, the fun continues with a Halloween party. Kids are
encouraged to come in costume. There will be face painting, balloon
artists, pumpkin decorating, Halloween stories, and
trick-or-treating through each department.
The ribbon cutting is at 7:45 a.m., with the doors opening at 8
This isn't just retail, it's a retail festival.
When Shane Christensen was getting married, he and his
soon-to-be wife enjoyed going around the local stores and filling
out their bridal registry. But when his wife got pregnant with
their first child, they found themselves somewhat stymied by all
the choices for babies.
"You wonder what crib is right? Do I need the wipe warmer?"
Christensen says. "And you're also worried about the baby. It's a
very stressful time."
Now a seasoned parent of two, Christensen aims to take that
stress away for other parents through a new concept on baby stores.
Wonder!, a 135,000-square-foot, one-stop shopping destination,
opened at the end of October and promises to be the place where new
parents can get advice from the experts.
Parent advocates work with moms- and dads-to-be to help decide
what they need: everything from gear to clothing to toys.
"They know all the products, what's necessary, what's not
necessary, and can take the time to walk you through this entire
process," Christensen says.
The store will also focus on parents' needs - including items
like good coffee.
The most interesting part is that the store has no cash
registers. All check-out is done on hand-held devices. In fact,
kids can bring their phones - or borrow yours - and scan their
birthday wishes to Grandma.
The store's inventory consists of boutique and specialty items
for children 7 and under, and is also available through an online
store. There's a cafe/restaurant serving healthy food, as well as a
half-acre interactive playscape where kids can climb or do quieter
activities such as arts and crafts. The play area also features
technological toys and 20-foot live trees.
For parents with kids with behavioral issues, the space is wide
open, with muted colors and an easy-going atmosphere.
A portion of the building is dedicated to classrooms for kids
and includes everything from cooking to dance to art to music.
They're even offering chess classes, and a zoology program. The
rooms can also be used for birthday parties.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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