Reviewed: Off the Wagon completes expansions

Suzi Starheim

The expansion of Off the Wagon toy store is now complete, said owner Michelle Sahr, and customers are welcome to come in and find more of the unique gifts and toys they have become accustomed to in the past.

The business, which opened in Kent in August 2009, expanded into the area directly next to it where thrift store Rehab Vintage was before relocating to South Carolina.

Sahr said she began focusing on expanding the store when she heard that Rehab Vintage might be closing. While the business was doing well prior to expanding, Sahr said part of the reason for expanding was to have space to bring in more products for customers.

“We kind of did more of all the great things everyone has loved about the store,” Sahr said.

To expand, the business opened up the wall that had originally separated the toy store from Rehab Vintage and put a wide doorway connecting the two areas. The tear-down of the wall took a week and then it took the business one more week to get the inventory set up in the new area, Sahr said.

The store, which Sahr said was originally approximately 500 square feet, will add approximately 600 square feet to its space, added more of its current type of inventory in addition to some new products, like humorous T-shirts and games for younger children.

In addition to Off the Wagon, Sahr said she owns two other stores, each called My Little Red Wagon. One of these stores is located in Stow and the other is in Hudson.

The items in Off the Wagon are different from the other two stores, however, and Sahr said this is because the Kent store has items for a wider range of ages.

“People come in here all the time to buy gifts for adults as well as kids,” Sahr said.

Employee Kyle Buckley said this store is much different than the My Little Red Wagon stores.

“Out there we kind of specialize more in infant and toddler toys whereas out here we were going for more gags, games, novelties, something that would appeal to college students,” Buckley said. “We try to get stuff that is quarky.”

And while business has been good for the store so far, Buckley said he thinks the expansion is “going to help out a lot.”

Buckley said the next step in the expansion is to get the original side of the store to look as good as the expansion side.

Tiffany Zeller is one customer who said she enjoys the quarky nature of the products at the store. The Brady Lake resident said this is the first time she has visited the store since it expanded and said she was very impressed with the result.

“I think they have a lot more room for all their fun stuff,” Zeller said.

Zeller, who has been to the store approximately five or six times since it opened in 2009, said the expansion was great for the store and customers because of the added space and products.

“It’s a little easier to see. Before, it was kind of condensed,” Zeller said. “This is fun stuff. You don’t find it anywhere else.”

While Sahr said she didn’t know the exact cost of the expansion because of all the factors that went into it, she said the only costs that will increase in the future are the rent and inventory investment. Payroll will stay at the same rate, she added.

And Sahr said she hopes to see more customers learning of the expansion.

“I think we are just starting to get the word out because we literally just opened the expansion up,” Sahr said.

Overall, Sahr said she is very excited that they did the expansion and hopes it brings more joy to customers of the store.

“We have sort of a humorous quarky sort of feel,” Sahr said. “People come in here and literally laugh. That is something we are going to keep absolutely the same, we are just expanding on it.”