Source: Sherman Publications

A toy store for everyone
Another reason to shop locally!

July 06, 2011

By Katelyn Crain

Review Intern

Going to a toy store is usually always more exciting for a kid. But what if there was a toy store that adults could get excited about, too? What if there was a toy store that you could find a gift for just about everyone on your Christmas list? Look no farther, because this store exists in the beautiful downtown area of Lake Orion.

Little Monsters, located at 16 W. Flint Street, sells not only toys that kids love, but also art for adults to get excited about. Leila Freija, co owner with Christine McKenna, says that a major goal they had in mind was to incorporate people of all ages into their store.

“A lot of toy stores really focus on children up to age 8, and our goal was to go all the way up to adults. We have a lot of funny, kind of gag gifts- for everyone,” Freija said. “As well as art hanging on the walls or placed around the store. There really is something in here for everyone!”

Not only does Little Monsters sell toys and art, they also offer classes for children and adults on certain days and weeks. Every Wednesday at noon, a class called Crafternoons is put on for kids.

“Each Wednesday, it’s a different craft. Kids can come in for free and make a craft that will take about 30 to 45 minutes. Once they are finished, they take their crafts with them to show off to their families,” Freija said. “And next week it’ll be something else, totally different. It’s a good way to get kids involved with art.

“We also have a local artist, Kim Santini, come in on weekends and some Tuesdays. She does the pet portraits, and she’ll come in to lead a journaling class for kids, we have also done some adult classes.”

Five years ago, the idea of creating a business such as Little Monsters came up in conversation between Freijy and McKenna during an art class they were taking together. They both shared a love for art and were extremely disappointed to see art gallery’s open up only to close a year later.

“We wanted to start an art gallery that had a way of supporting itself, a place that could stay in business. I own a piece of property on Beaver Island, which is in the middle of Lake Michigan. There are very few stores on that island, but one thing that is there is a toy museum. It’s owned by a local artist, who spends nine months of the year creating artwork and then in the summer months, she will sell it, as well as toys,” Freijy said. “We kept saying ‘I wish we had something like that here.’ And one day we decided to do it! So- we are toys, and gifts, but we’re also an art gallery.”

As Freijy and McKenna were looking for a location to open their store, Lake Orion was near the top of the list. Just a few factors went into the decision, but they couldn’t be happier with the outcome from choosing LO.

“We wanted a place that was family friendly. We really fell in love with Lake Orion because unlike other downtowns, where you may have people living in them, they are not really friendly as far as walking or biking. Lake Orion was just a much friendlier environment. There are people walking and biking all the time,” Freijy said. “We’re really glad we set up here because our customers and Lake Orion people are just so supportive and so loyal, and you don’t get that in every community.”

Little Monsters is a one-of-a-kind store. With a motto of “Toys, art and really cool stuff,” other toy stores may find it hard to compare.