by Michelle Brooks
“My mom told me this store was for me and she was right – I love it!” I heard a new customer say as I was deciding whether to take a photo of a three-foot tall unicorn or the four-foot tall dinosaur for this article. It is always a wonderful feeling to walk into a store and immediately get that, “this place is awesome” feeling, and that is exactly what The Amused Owl offers. The Amused Owl is a treat for all ages, and it an excellent place to find holiday gifts.
Wendy and Jim Hapgood moved to Mesquite in 2016 with plans of opening a bright, friendly, fun, interactive shop with toys and game for kids of all ages, including adults. After running a small chain of toy stores in Connecticut, Wendy ran her own toy kiosk named Happy Goods. When the couple moved to Mesquite, it was only natural for them to set their sites on opening The Amused Owl.
Wendy is upbeat, fun, and extremely knowledgeable about her products. She has a passion for education which she brings through to her store with a wide selection of toys, crafts, and games. The tagline on The Amused Owl business card reads, “It’s smart to have fun!” And you will definitely find toys that are not only fun to play with, but also teach children something while they play. Learning to measure and do fractions with baking playsets, or learning to paint and sew with the many choices for arts and crafts are just a few of the numerous toys that teach through play. Many come with extension activities that include interactive games for parents, grandparents, and children to enjoy together. There are puzzles of all kinds, from 3D medieval castles, pirate ship, and floor puzzles to regular, adult-friendly puzzles. You will find interactive toys that teach mathematics, alphabet, and geography, all while being fun for kids to play with.
Toys available at The Amused Owl are well made and come from companies such as Melissa & Doug, a company whose owners started making toys thirty years ago with a mission to “provide a launch pad to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose.” Melissa & Doug are “committed to making products that inspire open-ended thinking and encourage kids to see new possibilities.”
In addition to the wonderful toys and products for children, Wendy also offers a once-a-month free activity where kids can come in and participate. Participants receive 15% off products, but space is very limited, so please register ahead of time.
“We want to be here for the locals and cater to local kids, but we also have fun stuff for adults,” Wendy told me while giving me the tour of her shop, pointing out the amazing-smelling candles made by the Bridgewater Candle Company, noting the new holiday “flavors,” such as Hay Ride, Christmas Bliss, Gathering, and Cup of Cheer. Then, moving on to the cozy and comfy Snoozies socks and slippers — on my Christmas list! — and their own line of taffies and dark chocolates in flavors like rum, margarita, coffee, bourbon, and cabernet.
Where the toys at The Amused Owl are education-conscious, many of the other items for sale are from companies that “give back.” Some of the proceeds from sales of the wonderful-smelling Bridgewater candles go to feeding children in orphanages. There are super cute handbags made from recycled military tents, beautiful blown glass ornaments made from recycled glass and reclaimed water, jewelry made from spent-bullet casings, and so on.
With all the wonderful gifts you will find at The Amused Owl, one thing you will not find is high prices. All their products are very affordable and free of sticker shock. I actually think I had the reverse – could it be called low-sticker shock?
When asked if they would someday like to expand their business, Wendy told me she would like to have a bigger activity room so they can accommodate more kids and offer their free activities more often. She would also like to add teacher supplies and homework helpers.
With the holidays just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about finding the perfect, heartfelt gifts for our friends and loved ones. With the selection of affordable, fun, and educational toys, in addition to the thoughtful products that give back, you’re sure to find many perfect gifts at The Amused Owl that you will feel great about giving.
The Amused Owl with its incredible inventory is located at 561 W. Mesquite Boulevard, Suite 3 in Mesquite, Nevada. Call 702-613-0514, or buy online at Amusedowl.com.