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Children’s toy and book store comes to life in downtown Pekin

PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — About four years ago, Lisa Fuller began shopping for buildings to execute her plan of opening a children’s toy and book store.

She found what she was looking for while searching on Court Street in downtown Pekin.

“I love the historical buildings here. I think there’s a beauty unlike any other,” Fuller said.

While it took a few years of hard work and obstacles, including a contractor running off with her money, Fuller persevered and transformed the historic building at 341 Court Street into .

The grand opening took place on April 20.

“I wanted children to have an experience with shopping especially since Toys R Us is no longer here. Kids don’t have that small-town feel for shopping and then making an experience with their loved one, family member, whoever it is, to come in and be a kid,” Fuller said.

Before turning the four brick walls into a space of wonder and exploration, Fuller said the building on Court Street stood vacant for many years and ironically used to be a children’s toy and book store in the late 1800s and years later became home to Pekin Hardware.

“The building and I have become good friends, I know it sounds silly, but between the love for the building and the children, it was the perfect fit,” she said.

is named after Fuller’s first-born granddaughter. She has since become a grandmother to Olivia’s twin sisters.

“She [Olivia] and her sisters are my world,” she said.

Fuller said her time as a stay-at-home mom inspired her to create a space like .

“Whenever we would have an activity whether it was the dentist or a doctor’s appointment, we would go to Toys R Us and make a day of it. My children remember those moments and, so I want to create that for every child,” she said.

As a mother, grandmother, and daycare owner, Fuller said she offers items that are an investment in a child’s education and future.

“Toys, books, games, plush, activities, make-believe, anything that you can imagine a child would want. Everything’s educational, it’s all top-notch, high quality,” she said.

Overall, Fuller wants to create a memorable experience for children and families.

It’s like Albert Einstein said, ‘play is the highest form of research,’ so you know, what better thing to do than let children be children? Let them come and use their imagination, play, read books, have quiet time, have bonding moments with parents, so yeah! It’s any and everything you can imagine.

Lisa Fuller

Fuller said she has already began her next adventure with plans to open an indoor playground in Pekin in the near future.