One of Jacksonville’s newest businesses offers toys and – soon – a line of children’s clothing
Amy Kraneburg owns the Happy Alpaca toy store in downtown Jacksonville on Thursday. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Customers enter the Happy Alpaca toy store in downtown Jacksonville. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Customers shop at Happy Alpaca toy store. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
There probably couldn’t be a better welcome for customers entering Happy Alpaca Toys & Supply in Jacksonville than a life-size toy version of the animal itself, complete with real alpaca fiber.
Shop owner Amy Kranenburg, who cares for eight alpacas on her farm, praised the animals for their unique features, including a resting face that to her resembles a “sweet smile”.
“There are lots of reasons to link it to a toy store – they are beautiful; they are soft,” Kranenburg said. “I like to think that in an independent toy store, in particular, you’re going to walk in and see something that you haven’t seen in another store.”
Happy Alpaca Toys & Supply, located at 180 W. California St., Jacksonville, opened just over a month ago after six months of renovations to overhaul the former Scheffel’s Toys & More, owned by Bill and Linda Graham before selling it. .
“They were very happy that we were going to continue a toy store,” said Kranenburg, a retired attorney who co-owns Happy Alpaca with her brother, who lives in Miami.
With so many toys found mostly online or in the back of big box stores, Kranenburg noted, the local toy store seems like a dying institution.
“In fact, after buying this building, as a family, we discussed what to do,” she said. “It’s such an iconic building. What’s the best use of this real estate? We all felt really passionate about saving the toy store because it’s important to the community.
On Thursday, Kranenburg answered customer questions, made purchases and pumped up a few toy alpacas to make sure they looked their best.
Although the life-size and miniature alpacas that dot the store aren’t for sale, there’s plenty to choose from: puzzles, miniature kitchen utensils, books, backpacks, even a keyboard that can roll out. the ground — as well as some major brands, such as Playmobil.
As Kranenburg sees it, what makes Alpaca Toys & Supply happy is the fact that the toys aren’t based on technology, other than the keyboard.
“Most of our toys require kids and adults to share their imaginations and skills to create the experience,” Kranenburg said, noting that she’s bought a lot of toys in her lifetime as she has three boys, aged 19 to 9 years old.
She said it was “humiliating” to see the children arrive and to see “the children’s faces light up when they come in”.
“It’s a happy place,” Kranenburg said.
Those rejoicing at the store Thursday included students from the Medford School District’s 2022 Summer Experience, as well as young adults and older parents.
Carson Wisdon, 17, was among the customers who broke into the store on Thursday. The visit was a brief stopover with a group of friends traveling north from Southern California to Washington.
“The … store has been there for as long as I can remember,” said Wisdon, who has childhood memories of Scheffel, as his mother is from Oregon. “(Scheffel’s) was fun, but honestly, I like the theme of this store much better. (Alpacas) are something you see, and it grabs you and tells you to come in.
Mother-daughter pair Shannan and Katherine Lozano just looked inside Happy Alpaca on Thursday.
“I’m really surprised how much there is for all ages, from children to adults,” said Shannan, Katherine’s mother. “I think that’s a really cool thing. I have fun.”
Shannan said she knew Happy Alpaca was opening, but hadn’t been there until this week.
“I love it,” Katherine said. “It really is a cute store – lots to touch and feel,” she said.
Kranenburg said she plans to add a children’s clothing line to the store in 2023.
“There was such a wonderful response from the community because this building has been known for so long as your corner toy store,” Kranenburg said. “It’s up to us to keep delivering.”
Contact journalist Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.