Just in time for holiday shopping, a new toy store has opened in downtown Marion. Lindsey Henry, a former kindergarten teacher, owns LuLu’s Toy Co. at 196 West Center Street.
“I love kids, I love creative play, and I love helping parents and grandparents select unique toys that are quality, durable, and not available in big-box stores!” Lindsey exclaimed. “I am so excited to bring a specialty toy store to downtown Marion!”
Henry grew up in Marion and graduated from River Valley High School. She studied early childhood education at Ohio Northern University. She taught at Marion City Schools until starting a family in 2010.
“Being a teacher and a mom, I am excited to help parents and grandparents select age-appropriate toys, games, and puzzles that are not only entertaining but also help with the development of your child’s mind and body,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey and her husband of 17 years, Luke Henry, own many businesses. Lindsey stepped in to manage Topped Ice Cream and Eatery in March 2020.
While managing Topped she developed her leadership skills, met Downtown shop owners, and got more connected to the Downtown customers, and with that, realized she was ready for something more. Her love of children, the downtown, and business, a toy store was just the right move.
“It was at the end of July that I made my final decision. In the second week of August, we officially became LuLu’s Toy Co,” Lindsey said. “We opened November 4. It’s been something that I always wanted to do.”
Lindsey credits the support of her family, mentor Cathi Hall, and the community for a strong start.
“The response from customers just warms my heart. They keep saying things like, ‘You’ve finally opened a toy store! We have needed one for so long. I wish they had a toy store when my kids were small,’” Lindsey said.
They’ve already had repeat customers.
“I like the dolls, the finger puppets, all the books, and the chance to build things with my imagination,” said Ashleigh Septer, age 8.
“I love this store,” said Alison Septer of Marion. “I’m glad we’re getting more stores in Marion. There are more places for kids to go.”
“It’s exciting to see the traffic that it’s gotten. It’s one more reason to get people to come downtown. Then they go shop at Spruce and Sparrow or another shop and grab a meal downtown. We have to have something for everyone downtown,” Lindsey said. “The response from our local community is just tremendous. It has exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s gratifying. I feel like I’ve made the right decision and I have the support of the Marion community.”
Lindsey finds our small, close-knit community to be one of Marion’s strengths.
“The Marion community is unique. We’re all about hometown. We’re not a big city. The people here have been born and raised here, they are raising their families here. They care about downtown,” Lindsey said.
She feels Marion has a bright future.
“I opened on Nov. 4. Another business opened downtown on Nov. 11. That is two businesses on two back-to-back Fridays. That speaks volumes to the direction that we are headed,” Lindsey said.
The name came from Lindsey’s childhood nickname, Lindsey Lu, and a nickname for her husband, “Lou Kenry.”
“It’s the first one of our businesses to have our name in the title,” Lindsey said. “It just felt right.”
A friend drew the logo from her children’s favorite toys in their favorite sports.
Find more information on this treasure in Downtown Marion on the company’s Facebook page.