Creative Kidstuff Buys MI-Based Online Retailer

The acquired company, Sensational Beginnings, will function as a sister company of Creative Kidstuff under the umbrella of a new holding company.

Minneapolis-based toy-store chain Creative Kidstuff said Wednesday that it has purchased a catalog and online toy retailer. The purchase price was not disclosed.
 
The company being acquired is Monroe, Michigan-based Sensational Beginnings, and it will function as a sister company of Creative Kidstuff under the umbrella of a new holding company called GreaterGoodKids, LLC.
 
Creative Kidstuff said that it bought Sensational Beginnings “to help it continue to thrive as an online leader in the specialty toy business.” Creative Kidstuff launched its own online platform in 2005, and online sales now account for 13 percent of its annual revenue. It plans to launch a redesigned version of its own website later this month.
 
A spokesperson working with Creative Kidstuff said that Sensational Beginnings was ceasing operations when Creative Kidstuff made the purchase. Creative Kidstuff plans to update the Sensational Beginnings website and introduce the newly acquired company to some of its own online resources—including social media and e-newsletters.
 
“With our partnership with Sensational Beginnings, we intend to take an established and well-respected brand and continue to provide resources to parents and families,” Creative Kidstuff CEO and President Roberta Bonoff said in a statement. “Sensational Beginnings already has a loyal fan base that we’re going to preserve and expand by revitalizing the company’s online offering.”
 
Creative Kidstuff was founded in 1982 as a single store in Minneapolis’ Linden Hills neighborhood. It has expanded considerably since then and now has six locations, all of which are in Minnesota. It has won numerous “Best Toy Store” awards, and it has been nominated by the Toy Industry Association as one of the top specialty toy stores in the United States.

Creative Kidstuff employs between 150 and 175 people depending on the season, according to the spokesperson working with the company. Sensational Beginnings employed 32 at its peak, but only five remained when the acquisition closed. Creative Kidstuff will retain three of the five; the two others opted to leave the company.

Creative Kidstuff declined to reveal annual revenue for either of the two companies.
 
Last July, Creative Kidstuff launched a new baby shop within its St. Paul store. CK Baby Shop, which the company describes as a store within a store, is an area where shoppers can find merchandise for a baby’s first year, including cribs, strollers, high chairs, nursery décor and bedding, car seats, infant carriers, and diaper bags.
 
Creative Kidstuff also offers toys specifically geared toward children on the autism spectrum.