Wild Child toy store set to celebrate 1-year anniversary with expansion

Owner of The Wild Child toy store, Gretchen Miller, stands in front of her store for a photo paired with the announcement of the store’s expansion. Photo Submitted

 

Fouad Egbaria, Editor

11:19 am CDT October 4, 2016

Glencoe’s The Wild Child toy store is getting ready to celebrate its one-year anniversary in a big way.

 

The store, 657 Vernon Ave., opened in October 2015, is set to double its current square footage with an expansion into 659 Vernon Ave., which previously housed Glencoe Pediatrics. Store owner Gretchen Miller said they are planning a grand reopening celebration for Halloween, Oct. 31. 

 

“We’re trying to expand and not move,” Miller said. “I just thought it was the perfect fit.” 

 

She added that she’s looking forward to being able to spread out her inventory a little more — but she also hopes to add new items, including clothing apparel and books (following the closing of Books on Vernon earlier this year). In addition, this year Miller said the store is offering Halloween costumes. 

 

As a first-time business owner, Miller said she’s enjoyed her first year in the Glencoe business community, a time during which she joked that some people have called her the “toycoon.” 

 

“I love being here,” she said. “I love especially the kids in this town. It’s nice for them to have a place to go after school. We’re such a walkable town, especially for the junior high kids.” 

 

She’s enjoyed interacting with the children who come into store, and her new store manager, Pam Kleinmann, has a son who is a freshman at New Trier, just like her son, Devan. With a background in sales and a degree in social work, she said owning the business has offered her a mix of everything she loves. 

 

“I love what I do every day,” she said. 

Glencoe toy store undergoing expansion

 

The wild child store hopes to have an expansion completed in January, according to proprietor Gretchen Miller.

(Daniel I. Dorfman / Pioneer Press)

Daniel I. DorfmanPioneer Press

DECEMBER 30, 2016  9:41AM

a downtown Glencoe toy store is expanding, with construction expected to be completed by the end of January, according to its owner.

Gretchen Miller, a village resident since 2007 and proprietor of the wild child, contemplated opening her store for three years before doing so in October 2015. A little more than a year later, construction crews are in the process of expanding the approximately 1,000-square-foot Vernon Avenue location, with the intention of more than doubling it.

With the extra room, Miller plans to have author readings and other speakers to compliment her current inventory of games, toys, clothing and a book area.

"There were things I couldn't show people with the small space," Miller said. "I just want everyone to come in and see the cool items we carry."

To make room, a wall is being knocked down at an adjacent building.

With some new businesses entering downtown Glencoe, along with last year's opening of the Writers Theatre, many are hopeful that more customers will come to the central business district.

 

Miller is confident that there is enough pedestrian traffic in downtown Glencoe to make the expansion of her business viable.

"When I moved here, it seemed like everything was on the way out. That is when the recession hit," Miller said. "But now there is opportunity and I think we are ready to make our town the way it should be and (what) everyone expects."

She believes the current atmosphere in the village is conducive to a larger store.

"It is all about family and community," Miller said. "Everyone who lives in Glencoe loves it. It is small, but there is a lot packed in."

Daniel I. Dorfman is a freelancer for Pioneer Press.

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