A New Kind of Toy Story Arrives in Dallas

It’s hard business luring people away from online shopping and into an actual brick and mortar store – especially with their children in tow.

Camp, a toy store that opened in New York City’s Flatiron District last December, is disrupting the retail industry with its out-of-the-box retail experience. This October, Dallasites will have a chance to step into the immersive experience.

“We call ourselves a family experience store, and Dallas is all about family culture.” -Nikki Kaufman

Founded by Ben Kaufman, chief e-commerce officer at BuzzFeed, and his wife, Nikki, the Instagramable toy store was designed with the notion of blending play and product.

“If you’re not going for the experience and can buy online then why (go shopping),” Nikki Kaufman said.

The idea stemmed from the realization that it was hard to find a place to bring children that’s also fun for adults, she said. “We wanted to give people a reason to leave the house and go shopping.”

Kaufman described Camp as a cross between a science museum with a toy store.

While the 13,000 square feet of retail space at The Hill shopping center in North Dallas will remain the same, every three months its themed experience will rotate.

The store will open the second week of October with a kickback to the good old days of camp.

Walking through a magic door, guests will transform into an interactive experience that will set the scene with an old station wagon with suitcases on top, orientation, and a welcome board. Different cabins will be decked out and filled with camp-themed products, from arts and crafts kits and sporting gear to items you might expect at a STEM camp.

Other camp themes in the works include science camp and cooking camp.

Each Camp location also includes a space for theater and ticketed programming and a canteen. While the founders haven’t disclosed which local eatery they will partner with at the Dallas store, in New York, they teamed up with The Milk Bar.

“While Camp is very thoughtful and educational, it is really about play,” Kaufman said, adding that it’s the type of place where children can ride around the store in scooters and “kick a ball against the wall.”

As for why they chose Dallas as the first city to expand to, that’s easy, Kaufman said.

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Park Cities People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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