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Miller Hill Mall has 108 stores, and to somewhat of a surprise, only three are actually a local enterprise. One of those stores, is Legacy Toys. Their Duluth location in the Miller Hill Mall, opened in October of 2015, but the business got their start at their first location in Ely in 2013. We had the chance to talk with owner, Brad Ruoho this week.
When asked what inspired starting a toy store, Ruoho explained, “well, we kind of love toys, and we have three daughters who were spending a lot of time on iPods, and we just realized we wanted more creativity going on. More playing with toys and using imagination, and less of just being locked into applications.” Legacy Toys’ intention is to, “encourage families to play together.” One of the ways they facilitate that concept is a monthly family board game night they host at the Miller Hill location, “we take over the food court once a month, we bring over 200 games, and everyone is welcome to come enjoy a family game night for free,” said Ruoho. Due to the holiday season rush, they abstain from holding events during December, but said they will be back at it in late January. Another fun event hosted by Legacy Toys is a weekly class on Saturdays, called ‘Skill Days’, where they teach yoyo, juggling, kendama, diablo, and other skill games, every Saturday from 1-3 pm.
We heard a bit about the life size baby t-rex before talking with Ruoho, so we had to ask about it. “She’s a very popular part of the store, she is actually life sized for a baby Tyrannosaurus, the size they’re born at. There is only six in the country, and we’re the only ones in the midwest that have one.” Turns out, this animatronic rarity is actually motion sensored, and will come to life when someone walks near (she even growls), and some kids who frequent the store voted to name her Tyra. Also mentionable, a life size six month old plush giraffe resides in the shop as well.
Another interesting attraction to this toy store is the retro candy store. “We have a nostalgic candy store, with all the flavors of Jelly Bellys, salt water taffies, and retro candies. We actually just this week started releasing our own candy as well.” said Ruoho, “we’ve done ‘Zombie Bodies Parts’ and ‘Unicorn Droppings’ so far, anything gross or gruesome seems to be a hit with the kids.”
Candy isn’t their first try at original branding though, Ruoho elaborated saying, “A couple of years ago we released our own coloring book, ‘Boundary Waters Critters’, teaching kids to draw and use different art styles. Made locally in Ely, MN, by illustrator Shaun Chosa, and printed in Duluth, so it’s entirely locally made.”
Ruoho also wanted to emphasize that, “we’re just really appreciative of the welcome Duluth has shown us, like Ely, it just feels like home.”
To keep up with the fun family events Legacy Toys has to offer, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/legacytoysduluth, or for locations visit www.legacytoys.com