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This piece is presented by Dawley Farm Village.
Sheryl Nelson was a stay-at-home mom and substitute teacher 10 years ago when she started working at Kidtopia.
Six months later, she bought the business’ Sioux Falls location and hasn’t looked back.
“I always wanted my own business. I wanted something I could have that my kids could be at and that would be a family business,” Nelson said. “It was exciting because I’d worked there and knew what it was about. But I was a little nervous, too.”
Kidtopia was founded in the Okoboji, Iowa, area in 2003. Four years later, the owners expanded to Sioux Falls. When they found it was tricky going back and forth, it opened an opportunity for Nelson.
The first location in Sioux Falls was on the south side of town at The Bridges at 57th. The east-side Dawley Farm Village store opened in 2014.
“Once they get there, people love it,” Nelson said. “They call it a hidden treasure.”
The recession was tough on specialty toy store owners, she said.
“It made everybody lean up and really focus on what was important, and the toy stores that are open today are good stores,” she said. “When people come in, they know we’re there to help them. It’s not just walking down an aisle trying to find things themselves. And they appreciate that.”
In honor of the 10-year anniversary, Kidtopia will offer 10 days of deals that began Aug. 31 and culminates in an anniversary party Sept. 9.
“The big party will include drawings for prizes, the first 50 adult customers at each store will get gift bags, we’ll have mini cupcakes at each store, and we’ll do balloon-animal twisting and 10 percent off during the weekend, as well as loyalty punches,” Nelson said. “There will be a lot of fun things.”
The east side has been welcoming to Kidtopia, she said.
“I’m just hoping Dawley continues to grow. I don’t plan on opening any more at this time. I just want it to continue to grow strong and become more family- and community-focused.”
Sheryl Nelson was a stay-at-home mom and substitute teacher 10 years ago when she started working at Kidtopia. Six months later, she bought the business’ Sioux Falls location and hasn’t looked back.