Toy store moving into vacant GJ building
A popular toy store where hard-to-find Lego bricks abound is expected to win a $10,000 grant from the Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority board when it meets Thursday to vote on the request.
Grand Junction city staff recommended the grant application from eBricks Outlet Store owner Kenneth Riskey, who purchased the former Dos Reales tortilla factory at 124 N. Seventh St. on April 24 and this week announced he will be moving his retail toy store there. The building has been vacant for several years.
Riskey proposes to invest more than $20,000 to upgrade the facade of the building, $10,000 of which he is eligible to receive through the DDA’s facade grant program, city officials said.
Adding a new entrance, display case, exterior windows, lights, awnings, and repairing historic brick and stucco work are among Riskey’s plans for the building. Low bids to perform the work submitted by local contractors add up to more than $20,000 worth of renovations, city records show.
eBricks Outlet Store would become the second toy store to open downtown in the last six months and the third to establish a retail presence in the downtown shopping district.
Toys for the Fun of It, 519 Main St., has been selling games, puzzles, dolls, toy cars and trucks and many other unusual items at its Main Street location for years. And around Christmastime last year, the father and son team of Aman and Ronin Sircus opened an experiential, club-based toy store selling top quality skill toys suitable for competition called The Lonely Toy Store, 644 Main St.
The eBricks move became necessary after the Lego enthusiast filled his fifth storage trailer with inventory.
His First Street location “just didn’t make sense anymore,” Riskey said, but a move to downtown did.
“For high retail traffic, it’s either going to be the downtown area or the mall — and prices for the mall are outrageous.”
The way Riskey sees it, Legos are the universal toy for all children ages 5 to 95.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re severely left brain or severely right brain,” he said. “Lego works because you can take a set and build it as the instructions tell you — that’s for the left-brainers — or you can totally dismantle that set and do something totally creative, and that’s for the right-brainers.”
Riskey said he had been eyeing the North Seventh Street location for more than five years. He watched as one investor after another attempted to qualify for financing to buy the place. The property was on the market for around five years.
The recent death of a co-owner, followed by a dramatic drop in price for the .16-acre site immediately north of Blue Moon Bar & Grille, turned Riskey’s daydream into a deal he couldn’t refuse. The total cost to close was around $165,000, he said.
In the business of selling Lego bricks in the local economy for the past 15 years, Riskey said he plans to invest more money to renovate the 99-year-old, 5,000-square-foot commercial structure than he did to purchase it.
“The building is going to be totally revamped,” he said.
Built in 1917, the structure was once the site of Mesa Sanitary Supply and The Hob Nob Second Hand Store.
The DDA board is also expected to hear from a group of downtown merchants Thursday morning who claim sales are down 50 percent in the downtown district, and are asking for support, said Vonda Bauer, an administrative secretary and bookkeeper for both of the boards.