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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux
Enter Odin Parker and you’ll find a wonderland of non-plastic toys including music boxes, popsicle sets and pretend gardening tools.
Odin Parker is another company that has set up shop in Los Patrones Business Park, a new mall in Rancho Mission Viejo. The business opened last summer and is owned and operated by married couple Atila and Blakeslee Lotfi.
“We started five years ago when we were pregnant with my son, who is now 4 and a half. At the time, we were just looking for toys for him that weren’t plastic,” said Atila Lotfi. “We were looking at a lot of wooden things, not bright colors or crazy stuff. We had a hard time finding the type of toys we liked, but when we went online we were able to find plenty and most were in Europe.
Shipping, however, was expensive – so the Lotfis, who live nearby at Ladera Ranch, decided to buy toys wholesale and resell them. Their new foray into the toy world started out as a hobby away from home until they decided to turn it into a full-fledged business.
“It was a complete coincidence that we found this place and it has worked out really well since we realized how family oriented Rancho Mission Viejo is,” said Atila Lotfi. “The support we’ve had from the community is amazing because a lot of people come here not knowing where this place is, and they’re really blown away by the supply of toys. They immediately become so supportive.
Word of mouth has spread about Odin Parker via social media. The shop has a soothing air when you enter. Soft music plays and pretend vegetables are displayed. The couple’s young son, Jackson Lotfi, often enjoys playing with objects, including toy trains.
Many of the toys are homemade and different from what you might find at a big box store. The goal was initially to have just rear warehouse space to store inventory, but the Lotfis eventually decided to open up the front of the store so the items could be displayed.
“We are primarily an online business. That’s where the majority of our business comes from,” said Atila Lotfi. “Coincidentally, we had a lot of local customers wanting to pick up their orders in person. At that time, if people wanted to pick up their orders, we wanted to be a welcoming environment where you could see all the toys in person. »
The appeal of non-plastic toys lies in the “open” play possibilities, said Atila Lotfi. A plastic toy you can buy at Wal-Mart might make noise or light up after pressing a button and that’s it, but with a toy kitchen set, the playtime scenarios are only limited by the playtime. imagination of a child.
Lightweight non-plastic toys can also be considered a safer option.
“As parents of a 4.5-year-old child, safety is our number one priority,” said Atila Lotfi. “That’s what we were really looking for: non-toxic, safe and chemical-free toys.”
Lotfi also praised nearby businesses at Los Patrones Business Park, including Evolve Checkmat Jiu-Jitsu and Evolution Swim Academy.
“We only have positive things to say at this point. It was really great,” Atila Lotfi said of their experience so far as commercial tenants. know who are coming, but there are a lot of people who don’t know us and who come walking with their children or their dog, everyone has been so supportive.
As for the company name, Atila Lotfi said it just came out of nowhere. Parker is their son’s middle name and Odin is the one the couple met while researching a business name.
Odin Parker has a philanthropic program where a portion of purchases are donated to provide food for children in need, in partnership with the Children’s Hunger Fund and the No Kid Hungry program.
For more information or to order online, visit odinparker.com.
Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other southern Orange County news as editor of The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.