Milwaukee independent toy stores fill gap from Toys R Us shutdown

With Toys ‘R Us not an option this holiday season, many parents are turning to Amazon and places like Target and Walmart to do their toy shopping.

And, of course, there is nothing wrong with these options. Can’t find the convenience of finding exactly what you want online, and what mom doesn’t love a Target run?

RELATED:With the demise of Toys R Us, billions in sales are up for grabs for retailers

Still, there are plenty of smaller, independent toy stores in the Milwaukee area for those who want to shop locally or have a more personalized, in-person Christmas shopping experience.

From stores that only sell American-made toys, like Cedarburg Toy Company, to stores where the focus is a bit more eclectic than toys, like Fischberger’s Variety, to stores where the merchandise is much more eclectic, like American Science & Surplus, here are some great local options for your toy shopping this holiday season.

allison wonderland

720 W. Main St., Lake Geneva

472 N. Pine St., Burlington


lake geneva

  • Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


  • Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, closed

The family business has been around since 1972, and they pride themselves on not selling toys just because they’re trendy. You could call them trend setters. “We try to find new and exciting things that are unique and that people haven’t seen before,” Chris Springer said. “When these items become popular enough that big stores want them, that’s when we stop selling them and come up with something new.”

American science and surplus

6901 W. Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee


  • Monday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Fridays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
American Science & Surplus, 6901 W. Oklahoma Ave., has long been a Milwaukee landmark.

Bill Jarrett, Marketing Director of American science and surplus, said his store is known as the place to go for crazy stuff like stretchy and squeezable bananas. Or gas masks. Or gears and motors to build a robot. Basically a great place to go to get a crazy white elephant gift for the holidays or something fun for the kids. “We’re the place where people ask, ‘where the hell did you get that?'” Jarrett said. “We’re experts at weird stuff. We play with it all and know how it works.”

RELATED:American Science and Surplus holiday toy recommendations celebrate makers movement

Lawyer board game

Downtown Bayshore, 5800 N. Bayshore Drive, Suite, A-115, Glendale

Mayfair Mall, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa

6120 W. Layton Ave, Greenfield


Bayshore and Greenfield

  • Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


  • Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Board Game Barrister store in Greenfield

Gordon Lugauer, the owner of the Lawyer board game, has a passion for, well, board games. Employees at his stores can tell you all about the games they sell, and Lugauer said playing board games is one of the best ways he knows for families to spend quality time together.

RELATED:Game on! Board Game Barrister is Milwaukee’s go-to destination for expert family game fun

Cedarburg Toy Co.

W62-N583 Washington Ave, Cedarburg


  • Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cedarburg Toy Company

Natasha Loos points out that she and her employees know everything about what they are selling at Cedarburg Toy Company, which comes in handy especially on Christmas morning. “Nobody wants to read instructions anymore. The best way to learn is to have something demonstrated for you,” she said. “So when you buy a toy from us and we show you how to use it, you’ll be ahead of the game when it’s time to open the presents. Your kids will just have to jump in and play! “

RELATED:Cedarburg Toy Company helps parents choose holiday gifts for their kids

Variety of Fischberger

2445 N. Holton St., Milwaukee


  • Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, closed
Fischberger's Variety, at 2445 N. Holton St., Milwaukee

Sarah Ditzenberger, owner of Variety of Fischberger, sells more than toys, but the toys she chooses are those that remind her of her own childhood. “I loved the old Ben Franklin growing up,” she said. “This is the kind of store I wanted in this neighborhood. Somewhere where if you could find some change, you could ride a bike and buy a candy.”

gift of wings

9955 W. St. Martins Road, Franklin

5608 Broad Street, Greendale

1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive in Veterans Park, Milwaukee


  • Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Veterans Park is one of three Gift of Wings locations in the Milwaukee area.

Scott Fisher, owner of gift of wings, is quite famous in Milwaukee for the kite festivals it holds several times a year at Veterans Park. They turn out to be the perfect place for kite flying, as Fisher said, the wind from the lake and wide open spaces are perfect for kiting. And, thankfully, these kites can be purchased at its three stores – and flown – any time of the year.

little monsters

2445 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee


  • Monday, Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Closed
Little Monsters is a children's torus on Farwell Ave.  in Milwaukee.

Little Monsters is a toy store, yes, but it’s also a great place to buy adorable kids’ clothes, including fun stuff like unicorn headbands and bunny earmuffs. And, if you need some ideas, owner Andie Zacher keeps the store’s Facebook page up to date with tons of photos.

Ruckus & Glee

805 N. 68th St., Wauwatosa


  • Monday, closed
  • Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ruckus and Glee at its new location at 805 N 68th St. in Wauwatosa.

Sarah Fowles and her husband, Matt Poulson, are co-owners of this toy store in wauwatosa. Fowles is a Certified Play Expert and trains store employees to understand the benefits of each toy. “It’s definitely something you don’t see in a big box store,” Fowles said. “We don’t leave you alone to determine which toy is best for your child.”

Silly Willyz

161 W. Wisconsin Ave., #1H, Pewaukee


  • Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Toys abound at Silly Willyz Toy Store in Pewaukee.

Silly Willyz is right across from Pewaukee Beach, so during the summer months it’s the perfect place to go for all your sand buckets and beach toys. But Jackie Schoenholtz, the store’s owner, assures customers that the toys she sells are worth the trip all year round. “One of the benefits of specialty toy stores is that there’s a wider variety of really good quality toys and more unique toys,” Schoenholtz said. “The owners of these stores really think about what they bring in. Everything is bought with a purpose.”

The barn of smiles

2420 Milwaukee Street, Delafield


  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Maria and Glen Lujther own the Smiley Barn in Delafield.

Delafield Residents Can All Tell You Where the barn of smiles is. The historic barn was a landmark for years before the smile disappeared in the early 2000s. But now the smile is back – with a toy and candy store that opened in late 2000. the summer.

RELATED:Smile returns to historic Delafield Barn

Maria Luther, one of the store’s owners, is thrilled that parents are shopping there this holiday season. “It’s great for parents to break the habit of buying cheap plastic toys that don’t last and don’t grab attention after the first few days kids get them,” she said. declared.

Tosa Block Party

7251 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa


  • Mondays and Tuesdays, by appointment
  • Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Friday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tosa Block Party is the place to go if you're looking for something to do with LEGO.

Tosa Block Party is unlike any other store on this list. In fact, when Scott Shelnutt opened the store – which focuses on everything you can think of that has to do with LEGO – his plan was to have an event space where birthday parties and building events were held. . But, when people asked him if he would sell some of his LEGOs, he didn’t understand why and decided to open the space for retail as well.

“People are always welcome to come and ask what we have,” Shelnutt said. “I will sell and trade, and if people are looking for something specific related to LEGO, I will find it for them.”