Little Lincoln’s Toys will be the third tenant in the newly constructed retail center at 3450 Liberty Drive in Springfield. Owner Ryan Leake said that the new business is taking the remaining 1800 square feet in the building and hopes to have the build out completed by August.
Ram Talluri, the franchisee for Sky Zone, built the 9600 square foot center at the end of last year and is also the franchisee for Sweet Charlie’s, an ice cream shop scheduled to open later this summer. Gypsy Soul, Gypsy Tribe and Gypsy Dreamer previously announced plans to consolidate their three locations into one store in the new center, which is scheduled to open on June 15.
Leake said when he was looking for a location for his toy store, he liked the mix of other tenants in the area. “It really was the proximity to Sky Zone and being close to other shopping. Then when I found out there was going to be an ice cream store next door, that sealed the deal for me.”
While this will be a new business venture for Leake, he is no stranger to selling toys. “I am a retail enthusiast; I’ve worked in specialty retail for the last 12 years,” Leake said. “I spent about a decade at Toys R Us and Babies R Us. I feel bad about everything they’re going through and wanted to open a specialty toy store to fill a void in the marketplace.”
Leake is originally from Bloomington and has also lived in the Peoria area but said he’s been in Springfield for about three years now, most recently working for PetSmart. He intends to offer unique products that are not available at the big box chains or other local stores.
“There are several brands (of toys) that aren’t currently available in the Springfield market, you can only get them in Bloomington or Champaign,” said Leake. He hopes to open for business at the beginning of September, in time for the holiday shopping season.