A new toy store in Stony Brook opened its doors in October with shelves stocked with toys and art supplies ready to go.
Walking into Kid's Palace is like stepping in to a storybook, with hand-painted murals covering every wall and the audible rushing sound of a built-in waterfall. The entire back wall is shaped like a castle with a three-dimensional door extending out from above.
In addition to toys, the store also offers arts and crafts classes to elementary school and special education students. It can also host birthday parties and events such as puppet shows and story time.
"I thought having art class and having a place like this invites kids to imagine and they can probably transform that into some art, painting, and stories and be very creative," said the owner, Misook Kim.
Kim is also the owner of – which is slated to open soon in the space adjacent to Kid's Palace. She said there are multiple challenges to owning two businesses so close together: the amount of work and time it takes.
"The advantage is not having to commute far to manage both businesses," Kim said.
Jeffrey Saelens, director of the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook University, agreed. That the stores have two vastly different products shouldn't really matter, he said; having the ownership physically close by is an advantage.
"It's actually kind of clever," Saelens said.
Kid's Palace is the second toy store to open in the Three Village area in the past year and a half: opened in Setauket in July of 2010.
Kim chose Stony Brook as the spot for her new stores because after 18 years of living in the community, she said she feels very comfortable in the area.
"We want to give back to the community and customers," she said. "Especially to give children the opportunity for them to look into their imaginations to be creative and limitless."