Adults go into ‘kid mode’ at Brilliant Sky
BY CHEYANNE KRAMER
OU News Bureau
Bright and early in the morning, Michelle Gorzynski straightens up the toys lined up on every shelf and table.
The store is small, with tight aisles filled with toys. There isn’t a single LeapPad or video game to be seen. Instead there are puzzles, costumes, dolls and books all on display throughout the store.
Other days, the store is packed. Gorzynski will spend most of her Saturday afternoons wrapping presents for customers.
The store, Brilliant Sky Toys and Books, is across from the Village of Rochester Hills, just besides Plato’s Closet.
“People tend to think we’re expensive, but we’re really not,” she said. “Give me a price range, I’ll find something amazing in your budget. We have tons of stuff under $20.”
Another feature about Brilliant Sky that sets the store apart from the competition is the ability to call ahead. Customers have the option to pay over the phone for any item. This allows employees to wrap a gift and walk it out to the customer’s vehicle.
“We really want to cater to our customers’ needs. Sometimes moms will have a sleeping baby in the back seat and can’t wake them up, so we try to really focus on our customers like that,” Gorzynski said.
Customer Kristina Whitaker was buying a present for her young nephew. She eventually bought a small remote car that she test drove in the store.
“I haven’t noticed anything like what I bought in other stores,” she said. “I liked that I could test it out and see if it was worth the money.”
Gorzynski said that “hands down” the most popular toys of the year are items such as thinking putty and fidget cubes.
“Anything small: Shopkins, miniature vacuums, anything tiny,” she said. “Textile things are huge, too.”
Gorzynski said that if a customer comes in and asks for a product, there’s a high chance the store can get the product in. But it might not remain on the shelf. Gorzynski explained that many items that people request the store to stock end up selling out quickly.
The location in Rochester is the last remaining Brilliant Sky Toys in Michigan. The original store near Lansing closed last year, Gorzynski said.
“We’re an independently owned franchise,” she said. “There’s something like 20 Brilliant Skys, but we’re the only one in Michigan.”
She said franchise is owned by two sisters. According to Gorzynski, the sisters wanted a toy store that had “good, quality” toys that the children in their family would love.
Operating a toy store in a digital era isn’t easy. This past Christmas season, Toys R Us announced a 3 percent decline in sales around the globe.
However, there’s been a 5 percent increase overall in toy sales worldwide, according to toyassociation.org. This includes online sales, where many parents are turning to shop. Puzzles, plush toys, and youth electronics are all on the rise, and Brilliant Sky captures some of those trends.
Part of the store is set up like a doll house that extends up to the ceiling. Inside, there’s a wide array of plush dolls. Another part has a small race track on display, with multiple electronic cars that patrons can test drive.
“Some people stay in kid mode when they come in,” she said.
Gorzynski said parents will come into the store and let their kids play with the toys on display after visiting one of the two grocery stores nearby.
“Kids and parents come in, and their expression is like, wow,” she said. “I think that’s why I’ve been here so long, to see their expressions.”
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