Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Miracle Mile Toys Taking Over Old Whimsic Alley Space in Miracle Mile

Miracle Mile Toys and Games owner Christine Johnson, in front of her business’ soon-to-be new home.

If you’ve looked closely along the Miracle Mile recently, you may have noticed a few new signs – a large set advertising the current Miracle Mile Toys and Games location as being For Lease…and  smaller ones, over and on the door of the old Whimsic Alley space, just to the west across Wilshire Blvd., noting that it will be the new location of the toy store.

Out with the old…

The move across the street may not seem like a big deal geographically, but it will bring a huge increase in in the store’s size, along with other changes including a new business partner, greatly expanded retail and event offerings, and even a slightly new name:  Miracle Mile Toy Hall.

Miracle Mile Toys owner Christine Johnson said she hadn’t originally been planning any of this, “but I’d always talked to my friend Carrie [Harr] about how fun it would be to work together. The day I found out Whimsic was closing, I walked over to talk to their manager, Evelyn and find out if it was true and get some details. As I walked back to the store I texted Carrie something like, “Whimsic Alley is going out of business. Want to move in and open a toy and party space?” and she immediately texted back, “Yes!”

…and in with the new.

Harr is now Johnson’s new business partner, helping out with buying for the store…and taking on the role of events manager, which will have increased importance in the business’ hugely expanded space (as with the location’s Whimsic Alley iteration, there will be a large event hall behind the retail area).

Harr and Johnson – “mom friends” whose children have attended school together for many years – are already busy with plans to put that space to good use. For starters, Johnson reports that “Bob Baker Marionettes will be doing a once-monthly show at our store, bringing their history and amazing puppetry right to our neighborhood.” They also plan to host community events, private parties, product demonstrations, game nights and more.  Johnson says the first Bob Baker show will be held on November 25 – which is also Small Business Saturday – at 1 p.m.

Right now, Johnson and Harr are busy painting (yes, they’re keeping the old “village” layout of the space, but with a very different feel – see their Instagram feed for a preview), stocking and planning for their big move.  “We move and open on November 1st,” said Johnson. “But it’s going to be a big, busy day. Best time to stop in is that weekend, Saturday, November 4th. And our real grand opening and party will be on Saturday, November 11th, which is also National Neighborhood Toy Store Day“…a date that this year, Johnson said, will be “extra special” for her shop.

Other upcoming events include a free session on Sunday, November 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Hofit De-Levie, LMFT, a licensed child and family therapist, who will talk to parents about dealing with children’s “big feelings” around the holidays, including family stress during the period…and even behavioral strategies for visiting a toy store.

But more and bigger events aren’t all that will be new in the new location.  Johnson says retail offerings will expand as well, with baby clothes and books among the new product lines, along with expanded inventories of “just about everything!”  Johnson said she also loves that the new location is right between TAG Art Gallery and Mik Jar Cookies, the latter of which she calls a “perfect pairing” for a toy store.

All in all, she said, “We’re planning lots and lots of special events for 2018 to keep the space busy and happy.”

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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