Learning Express Toy Store and Play Center located at 168 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace is now open. The new concept, which combines a toy store with children’s activity center and play museum is the first of its kind for Learning Express which operates over 125 toy stores across the United States. The company got its start in 1987 with its first store in Acton Massachusetts.
I recently spoke with Learning Express Marketing Director Lauren Derse. Lauren explained that while its stores are normally franchises, this is a new concept so the Bedford location is their first company owned store. The new space consists of 7500 square feet divided between a traditional toy store and play space known as Downtown Play.
|The downtown play space includes lots of miniature stores and outdoor items.|
|The studio features 45 minute classes focusing on movement, dance, art, music, science and more.|
|The infant play area is designed for babies that are not yet able to walk on their own.|
|The general store is almost a full replica with working shopping carts and a functional cash register.|
|2nd floor view from the downtown place. Note the slide for kids to ride down to the first floor.|
|The slide exits out of the fire station..|
|The play area includes a tiny train station. Note the colors match those at Depot Park.|
|The Gymnasium is nearly 1000 square feet and has dozens of activities.|
|The gymnasium also features a mini rock wall.|
The toy store is modeled after other Learning Express toy stores with a focus on products that promote childhood development such as Melissa & Doug.
|Finishing touches were being made as the store readied for its grand opening..|
|The Paws & Claws clinic features stuffed animals for kids to practice on as a Veterinarian.|
The Grand opening for this new concept runs includes special guest for kids such as Elmo, Peppa from Paw Patrol and Cinderella. They also plan to features contests, raffles and special promotions.
|Lots of stroller parking is available.|
1. While Learning Express is now just opening, they have already been involved in the community for many months. It's good to see a company make the investment.
2. It's interesting that Bedford was once again chosen as the location to test a new concept for an existing company. Panerea Bread did the same thing two years ago with its takeout and delivery concept.
3. If the concept is successful, I predict it will be a big driver of traffic for the Bedford Marketplace and be very beneficial for the other businesses. Overall it seems the Bedford Marketplace renovation will be successful. There are only a few vacant spaces left at the Bedford Marketplace and those are under discussion to be leased.