Fat Brain Toys was started in mid-2002, when 10-year-old Adam Carson got a magnetic building toy and liked it so much he went online to try to order a larger set. When he couldn't find one, well, he suggested that his father Mark Carson, a web developer, create an online specialty toy store.
Fat Brain Toys, which is opening its first store outside of Nebraska, will use a 2,800-square-foot space. Launched in 2002, the company began as an online store selling magnetic toys. In 2008, it opened its first storefront and now sells nearly 7,000 in-stock toys, gifts and games. Fat Brain Toys boasts the "single largest selection of American-made toys found anywhere."
"Why was it that that toy resonated with him? It was really high quality, simple to use but there was a real sophistication about it. He was learning while he was playing," said Mark Carson, founder of Fat Brain Toys with his wife, Karen.
The family did start an online business, shipping magnetic toys out of the basement of their home in Elkhorn, Neb. The business grew so quickly they moved out of the basement and then to ever larger spaces before settling in their current 2,700-square-foot store and a 75,000-square-foot warehouse in Omaha.
Fat Brain Toys also has expanded its offerings from magnetic toys to nearly 7,000 high-quality toys, games and gifts.
"They are open-ended, meaning more creative play, more multiple uses and engaging different ages," Mark Carson said. But not toys that have "one use for it and once they have exhausted that purpose they are on to the new thing."
The company also doesn't carry toys that are "licensed, violent, cheaply made."
In 2006, the Carsons started a sister company called Fat Brain Toy Co. and began developing a line of toys, including Dado Cubes.
FIts Omaha staff includes teachers, parents and grandparents who have a particular interest in children's toys, and the Carsons will look for similar help for the 15 staff positions at the new Overland Park store at 5601. W 135th St., Suite 2230.
Other new tenants coming to Prairiefire, at 135th Street and Nall Avenue in May.
Threshing Bee will be a mix of small, distinctive boutiques. It will take a 6,000-square-foot spot at 5501 W. 135th St., Suite 2320. Boutiques will include: Tomboy by clothing designer Laura McGrew, Mended Wing, Adorn, Dry Creek Goods, Zuzu's Petals and TinyTown, a boutique that will offer "high-quality, affordable" home decor, accessories, gifts and jewelry for small dogs, puppies and their owners.
Bridal Extraordinaire South will open a 4,000-square-foot store at 5601 W. 135th St., Suite 2240. It will sell wedding dresses and "social occasion" dresses. It also has a Bridal Extraordinaire shop in Shawnee.
The Lawrence-based Eagles' Rest Natural Home plans to open Rest Natural Mattress at 6285 W. 135th St., Suite 330. The 1,800-square-foot store will specialize in mattresses made from cotton, wool and all natural latex. It also will make custom sofas and chairs using natural fabrics.