Missy Stein owns the toy store Whoops! and Co., a reality her two young sons may not fully appreciate.
“They think everyone’s parents work in toy stores,” she said. “When they’re here with me, they play with the toys and they’re the best salespeople I can ask for!”
Her 5-year-old will approach other kids in the store and explain games to them, she said. As a parent, Stein works to ensure the store is welcoming to kids and adults. Aisles are wide to accommodate strollers, a table is available for kids to color or test out toy games, and staff help answer questions while parents shop.
Stein worked at a previous incarnation of Whoops! and Co. during the 1990s’ Beanie Baby craze. When she had an opportunity to reopen the store five years ago, the new Whoops! was reborn.
The store opened with the Westmoreland neighborhood’s Sequoya Commons shopping center in 2009. Whoops! is nestled between a Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Parlor and EVP coffee shop, just a few doors down from the Sequoya branch of the Madison Public Library.
“We call it a trifecta of toys, ice cream and coffee,” Stein said. “Westmoreland has a very neighborhood feel. I grew up in a small town, and I see kids riding their bikes here, buying candy or ice cream and I realize, you can still do that in parts of Madison.”
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Whoops! and Co. carries toys for infants to adults and staff can recommend toys for different ages. A selection of jigsaw puzzles has grown over the years due to customer requests, Stein said.
She estimates they carry close to 200 different puzzles at any one time, including puzzles with non-juvenile images designed to appeal to adults.
Puzzles can be a therapeutic tool for people recovering from a stroke or dealing with memory loss, Stein said.
A recent visit to Whoops! and Co. found dozens of travel games, Doinkit magnetic darts (a game Stein said is equally popular with adults) and build-it-yourself marble mazes.
The store also carries Paper Piper personalized stationery. The custom stationery business creates event invitations, posters, calling cards and more.