Black Friday might get millions of people out shopping for the latest gadgets, but LARK Toys creates one-of-a-kind pieces year-round.
Just traveling on Highway 61 through Kellogg, Minnesota, it could be easy to miss. Once inside though, LARK Toys is 20,000 sq.ft. of magic.
"There are not a lot of folks that come through Lark who are grumpy, at least not when they leave," Miranda Gray-Burlingame, LARK Toys co-owner said.
LARK Toys started over 30 years ago, but for the last decade it's been under the ownership of the Gray-Burlingame family. They decided to get into the toy business after Miranda experienced a difficult pregnancy. When everything ended well for mom and baby, the whole family knew they needed to embark on a new adventure.
"That experience really was a stunning one and kind of informed our whole family about how precious life is and how we really wanted to do something together and dare to do something creative," Gray-Burlingame added.
Over the years, LARK has become one of the top-rated toy stores in the world, but getting there was no small feat. The family had a lot of experience working with children, but not owning a toy store. So, they welcomed the guidance of longtime toymaker and woodworker Tim Monson.
Monson has been with LARK almost since the beginning, and creates thousands of toys each year from scratch. An experience he says, never gets old.
"I'll walk in to the toy store when we're busy just to watch the reaction of the people when they walk in to the room, because a lot of them have never been here before, and to see their reaction is priceless," Monson said.
People come to LARK from all walks of life, but when they leave they are part of the family.
"It's just a real blessing for our family to be working together in a place like this. It doesn't feel like work," Ron Gray, LARK Toys co-owner said.
When you're having fun, it never is.
MORE: LARK Toys
MORE: Happy Fridays