Whenever Shane Christensen, a Lake Forest venture capitalist, went shopping for his kids—a mission that usually meant going to one store for clothes and another for toys, for example—he often asked himself: Why isn’t this as fun as going to Bass Pro Shops or other specialty megastores?
“If anything should be an amazing retail experience, it should be shopping with and for your kids,” he says. “Children’s retail was falling flat.”
On October 29, Christensen opens Wonder!, a 135,000-square-foot store in Deerfield designed to be a one-stop shop for everything a child needs from birth to age seven—including furniture (such as the Monte Design Group bassinet, $395, left), strollers, toys, clothing, accessories, and diapers.
While big-box in its scale and selection (close to 150 stroller models are available), Wonder! will offer brands often found at boutiques—such as toys by Jellycat and Educo (including the rattle, $20, left), clothes from Toobydoo and Joah Love (such as the dress, $58, left), and boots by Emu and Hunter.
The store will serve light meals in its café and has 20,000 square feet of private party space and classrooms, where parents can drop kids off for yoga, art, cooking, dance, and music sessions while they shop. The paid classes were conceived as a customer-service draw for parents as much as a diversion for children: “The key for us is to have moms and dads walk in here and love it,” Christensen says.
GO 250 S. Waukegan Rd., Deerfield; 224-330-6400, shopwonder.com
Photography: Courtesy of vendors