Kathy Lavine, Your Neighborhood Toy Store Owner

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Learning Express Toys at the Mall of Georgia Crossing

A long-time resident of Georgia, Kathy opened her first Learning Express Toys location in Athens in 2007, following decades of work in hospital administration. “I learned of Learning Express Toys at a child”s birthday party,” says Lavine. “I was impressed by the colorful wrapping paper on the gift, the care that had been taken to wrap it, and the unique toy inside!” Lavine”s second store was in Snellville, from 2010 to 2012.

After researching the company, Lavine determined she was ready to change careers and become the owner of a toy store. “I was particularly interested in the connection LE Toys makes with its community through events, partnerships, and fundraisers.” At her Mall of Georgia Crossing grand opening in November 2013, Lavine hosted a benefit for the Animal Resource Foundation. ARF is dedicated to saving and improving the lives of companion animals.

“The allure of being part of a fun and creative industry drew me to the Learning Express Toys franchise,” says Lavine. Walk inside Lavine”s store, and you immediately notice the colorful, bright atmosphere, the exceptionally helpful staff, and the number of toys. “Demonstrating toys is something that sets LE Toys apart from most other stores,” says Lavine. “We believe that children need to try out toys to determine if they are the right fit. And, we encourage them to play in the aisles.”

Nearly every day of the week, the LE Toys store hosts events, crafts, and character visits. Story Time, PlushCraft, and Do-A-Dot, are just a handful of the fun activities in which children can participate. The store also holds regular Rainbow Loom classes. “Being an integrated part of the community is important to us,” says Lavine. “We are so much more than a place to buy a gift.”

LE Toys is the one-stop destination shop, where you can have an exciting family afternoon of play, meet a costumed character such as Elmo or the Princesses, purchase a birthday gift, and have it personalized and wrapped for free.

“We also offer a Birthday Box program, which is quite popular with parents,” says Lavine. Parents and the child visit the store about six weeks prior to the child”s birthday party, and fill a box of items he or she hopes to open at the party. The parent then sends out a note with the party invitation letting guests know that they can purchase a gift–without worry of duplication–at the Learning Express Toys at Mall of Georgia Crossing. “It takes the worry and guesswork out of buying for birthday parties,” says Lavine. “When I buy children”s birthday party gifts, I never want to be the person who bought the same item as someone else.” And, with the program, guests know immediately what will make the child happiest. On those extra busy days, customers can call ahead, purchase the item on the phone, and pick it up–already wrapped–at the store.

When you shop at LE Toys, you can do so knowing that you are supporting a locally owned and operated store. Lavine might just be your neighbor!

Express Toys – Mall of Georgia Crossing
Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 6 p.m.
Phone: (678) 541-2585

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