Stone's Education Superstore to reopen in bigger space this week
Posted November 20, 2013
Stone's Education Superstore, a destination for local teachers since the 1940s, is moving to bigger digs this week, allowing it to boost its toy selection just in time for the holidays.
On Sunday, the shop closed its doors at a warehouse on Tryon Road, the store's home for 42 years. Owners Carol and David Madison tell me that they hope to reopen in the new space at 210 Hampton Woods Lane off Chapel Hill Road in Cary by the end of the week.
The Tryon Road store was packed with all kinds of supplies that preschools, schools and teachers would need - everything from tables and chairs to workbooks, games and decorative items for classroom walls. The shop also carried a small selection of toys, including the popular Melissa & Doug brand.
While supplies for teachers have always been a mainstay, Stone's also has been a destination for parents looking for educational games and toys for their kids. I've shopped there several times.
At 12,000 square feet, the new building is just 2,000 square feet bigger than the former space on Tryon Road. But the additional area has allowed the Madisons to focus not only on the educational supplies, but on toys as well. Half of the sales floor will be dedicated to school supplies, the other half will be for toys.
"We want to create the best toy store in the area," said David Madison, who bought the business with his wife in 2005.
The toys section will included even more Melissa & Doug items, including its large plush toys. They'll also carry Bruder and John Deere trucks, Plasma cars, La Newborn dolls, Adora dolls, Playmobil and much more. A special section will be dedicated to retro toys that parents will remember playing with.
At a store preview earlier this week, kids played with plush snowballs that feel like the real thing, Magic Nuudles, Living Sand and the Turbo Twister remote control car (which lights up and is awesome). Younger kids checked out a wooden shape sorter and puzzles.
When the plans were in place for the new store, Carol Madison tells me she called in all of the representatives of toy companies that she works with.
"I told them 'I need the best of what you sell,'" she said. "I have a lot of stuff that I have never carried before."
Carol Madison said that demo toys will be scattered around the store so your kids can play while you shop. There also will be a large reading nook stocked with children's books. Another nook will include a variety of Playmobil toys for kids 3 and under. For teachers (and kids looking for something to do), there will be a work station with leather chairs and a table with a white board top.
The Madisons tell me that they do plan to eventually hold special events at the new store as they have done at the former location.
The building, designed by local architect David Maurer, is designed to look like a train depot with 30-inch thick brick masonry walls supporting it all. The tall ceilings, open floor plan and big windows make it seem much bigger and more airy than the old Tryon Road store.
There are a number of "green" elements in the building, including solar-powered lights and a giant fan that circulates the air. The store even won a grant to include an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot.
The Madisons are busy this week moving store inventory from the old store to the new one. They hope to open at the end of the week. David Madison even dangled Thursday out there. Check the store's Facebook page and website for the latest updates. I'll have more about it, once it opens, next week.