SK Mall toy store changes owners, revinvents identity

The location may be the same, but new toy store owners Steve and Mary Allen are marking a new identity for the Kids Fun Shop — formerly Kids — at the South Kitsap Mall.

Though neither have ever owned a business before, both have extensive backgrounds working with children.

Steve Allen said a combination of their professional background and the experience of shopping for their 4- and 6-year-olds has given them a hold on the toy industry.

“My background is in child psychology, and my wife is has worked in children’s services,” Allen said. “We both thought this would be a new and fun endeavor and it would be good for all of us as a family.”

Customers familiar with the store need not fret over the toys being sold at the store.

The popular mainstays such as Brio, Thomas the Tank Engine, Madeline, and Playmobile are stocked full on the shelves.

At the same time, Allen said one of the goals is to offer toys customers wouldn’t normally find in other stores.

“We want to offer toys that are unique and not just run of the mill,” Allen said. “We always hope to find something new for people. I think everyone always wants to look for something new and fun.”

Some of the newly introduced items deal with arts and crafts, tools, blocks and puzzles.

The new store debuted Sept. 9, and so far Allen said running the business has been a wonderful experience.

“The thing I enjoy the most is meeting new people and helping out moms, dads, and grandparents find the right toy,” Allen said. “I enjoy helping people find exactly what they’re looking for.”

Allen said the store also allows his family to stay closer together, and he can always rely on his 4-year-old son’s expertise on dinosaurs to stay up to date with the latest dinosaur toys.

“My son is very knowledgeable about dinosaurs at just 4-and-a-half years old,” Allen chuckled. “We’ve always been a family first and this is like our second home now.”

Allen said he feels like an expert in the toy industry after the countless hours he has spent shopping for his children.

“I’ve been to many toy stores in my time,” he said. “One thing I always looked for was the Thomas the Tank Engine Roundhouse. But no matter where I went they were always out.

“I always said if I ever own my own toy store I will make sure I always have the roundhouse.”

Now he wants to make sure he meets the needs of his customers.

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