Mastermind Toys is now hiring and setting up a store in the former Nutter’s Food Location in South Red Deer.

Mastermind Toys coming to Red Deer

You’d be hard pressed to find a kid who wouldn’t want Jon Levy’s job. The CEO of Mastermind Toys also serves as the Ontario-based retailer’s chief merchant — or head toy buyer. And the effort that he and the business’s other buyers put into their jobs is one of the things that sets Mastermind Toys apart, said Levy.

You’d be hard pressed to find a kid who wouldn’t want Jon Levy’s job.

The CEO of Mastermind Toys also serves as the Ontario-based retailer’s chief merchant — or head toy buyer. And the effort that he and the business’s other buyers put into their jobs is one of the things that sets Mastermind Toys apart, said Levy.

“Sifting through the thousands and thousands of things that we see when we travel all over the world, whether it’s Europe, the U.S., Asia or different places, to find what we think are the best and most fun toys, is quite a process.”

Founded by Levy and his brother Andy in 1984, Mastermind Toys has grown to 38 stores, with the 39th scheduled to open at Gaetz Avenue Crossing in Red Deer next month.

“Red Deer’s central location and solid economy are a few of the reasons why we are opening a new Mastermind store here,” said Levy. “Our research demonstrates that there is a strong appetite for specialty toys and children’s books in Red Deer.”

Mastermind Toys is in the midst of an aggressive program of growth. Five years ago, the chain consisted of just 11 stores; now the goal is 70 by 2018 — with 10 expected to be added this year alone.

Levy explained that the first 25 years were spent developing and refining Mastermind Toys’ brand and expertise. When the decision was then made to grow beyond the company’s Ontario roots, it was felt that the infrastructure needed to support a national business necessitated a “critical mass” of stores.

Concerns that the Mastermind name might not resonate with consumers outside its traditional market disappeared once stores began opening in British Columbia and Alberta, said Levy. That’s because mothers — Mastermind Toys’ primary customer — embraced the concept.

In addition to its “thoughtfully selected” inventory of toys, Mastermind Toys has a distinctive layout, he said. This includes products arranged around the store in departments, with wide aisles and continuous sight lines so parents can easily watch their youngsters.

Mastermind Toys also emphasizes knowledgeable service, added Levy, so adults can make informed buying decisions. Between its in-store and online (www.mastermindtoys.com) offerings, the company carries about 10,000 unique items, including some 6,000 types of toys and 4,000 book titles.

“About 20 per cent of the space in our stores is dedicated to children’s books and reading.”

Complimentary gift-wrapping is offered.

Levy estimated that about 30 per cent of Mastermind Toys’ products change every year, although some classics have stood the test of time.

“There are a lot of old favourites on the shelf that we’ve been carrying since Day 1.”

Many others have given way to new and different products, with a couple of consumer trends currently influencing the merchandise on the shelves.

“One is the infusion of technology into toys, which is very exciting,” said Levy. “And then conversely, there’s the desire of people to not want technology in toys.”

The latter push is helping strengthen demand for toys like building blocks.

Levy said Mastermind Toys carries playthings for infants, such as rattles; and also entertains teens with the likes of science kits and crafts.

“But our sweet spot is (ages) one to 10, probably,” he said.

Red Deer will be Mastermind Toys’ sixth Alberta location, with three stores already operating in Calgary and two in Edmonton.

The local outlet is being developed in 4,355 square feet of Nutter’s Bulk & Natural Foods former premises at 5250 22nd St.

A staff of about 25 is expected to be in place by opening.

“It’s not uncommon for when the stores really get rolling for them to have a roster of between 50 and 75,” said Levy.

Hours of operation will be Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A grand opening celebration is planned for April 30 to May 3.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Kinky campground turned down in Red Deer County

County’s municipal planning commission said campground didn’t meet regulations

City aims to improve transit efficiency

Citizen input survey is available until Aug. 6 on city’s website

Crops looking good halfway to harvest

Coming off a lousy 2018, farmers having a much better year

Adriana LaGrange tops Alberta ministers’ office costs in May

The costs accumulated by three central Alberta MLAs serving as cabinet ministers… Continue reading

Opinion: RCMP and military legal settlements ignore accountability

If you asked Canadians which institutions stand at the heart of our… Continue reading

Transat co-founder could make more than $17 million from sale to Air Canada

MONTREAL — Transat A.T. Inc. chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache stands to make… Continue reading

‘Joker’ and Fred Rogers drama among galas set for Toronto film festival

TORONTO — A standalone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, a drama featuring… Continue reading

These mannequins aren’t for fashion. They’re for medical training

Lying on the table, surrounded by two nurses, a woman shrieks in… Continue reading

Lamoureux twins start foundation to help disadvantaged kids

BISMARCK, N.D. — Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, stars of the United… Continue reading

Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse wins second gold at world aquatics championship

GWANGJU, Korea, Republic Of — Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse has defended her… Continue reading

Pitt, DiCaprio and Robbie reconcile a changing Hollywood

LOS ANGELES — Once upon a time, not too far from Hollywood,… Continue reading

Toronto-raised sexologist Shan Boodram on winning ‘The Game of Desire’

Toronto-raised sex educator Shan Boodram wants to bring a more “human approach”… Continue reading

Most Read