The Little toy store opening in Webster Groves

A neighborhood pop-up toy store has outgrown its space—and, unlike when it’s that pair of shoes you just bought for your kiddo, that’s a good thing. The Little, the passion project of a group of moms, is moving into a larger permanent space at 8143 Big Bend in Webster Groves’ Old Orchard neighborhood. The grand opening is set for May 4 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m., when customers can enjoy shopping, drinks and treats, face painting, and more.

Mallory Galbreath owns the shop with her friend Kaki St. Eve and sister Hannah Hutkins. Between the three of them, they have eight children and a lot of toy expertise. Over dinner two winters ago, Galbreath and St. Eve were talking about shopping for their growing families. “We were like, ‘You know what would be so fun? If we opened a kids’ store.’” The next day, Galbreath shared the idea with Hutkins, who had already been talking with another friend (Lisa Dolan of LARK Skin Co.) about the very same idea.

By June 2023, they were up and running.“Our old, retired location was definitely an experiment of sorts,” she says. “It was fly by the proverbial seat of your pants, bootstrap it, and see if it works. It ended up being well-received.” That might be an understatement: The business outgrew the initial space in less than a year, and the new space is about four times as big.

The philosophy behind their curated inventory is to offer toys of lasting quality that open multiple possibilities. A toy that can capture the imagination in multiple ways and for multiple plays (and for multiple kids) can cut down on playroom clutter, too. “When your child is playing with something that has a screen, they’re probably just doing what the screen is telling them to do,” explains Galbreath. “One day, this cape makes you a knight in shining armor; one day, it makes you a princess.”

The business has expanded the age range that it serves. The focus had been on toys for newborns–age 11; now, it carries gifts for youngsters up to 14 years old, extending into the sometimes-tricky territory of tweens and young teenagers, where the temptation is to just buy a gift card or technology.

“All of the things that are cool for those kids at this point are not necessarily your traditional toy store things,” says Galbreath. The store is such items as science kits, DIY obstacle courses, nighttime flag football, microphones, and more.

The three owners balance work at the store with job and kids and the rest of life. They have one full-time employee, Joelle Ahrens, with Katie Hayes providing social media and jack-of-all-trades support. Their kids are working hard as product testers, Galbreath says, with husbands building shelving and lugging furniture.

“Our hope is to become not only a go-to place in Webster and beyond for gifting, but also to be a community mainstay: reading hours, events,” says Galbreath. “Our goal is to become integrated in the street and the surrounding community.”

Leave a Reply