Magformers toy company opens Canton Twp. play space
Magformers, a construction-toy company based in Canton Township, opened the doors Thursday to its first toy store in North America.
The opening of the Magformers Toy Store coincides with the company’s move from its former 2,500-square-foot headquarters in Plymouth to a 7,000-square-foot office and retail location on Ford Road in Canton Township, according to company officials.
“We’re excited to be in the Metro Detroit area,” said CEO Chris Tidwell. “We feel we have a very educated consumer here. We really are looking forward to being more and more a part of the community. I think people who don’t know us, in a few years from now will very much know Magformers.”
Magformers are magnetic pieces that can be stuck together to build flat or multidimensional structures. The pieces have patented rotating magnets that ensure a “frustration-free” connection, Tidwell said.
During the store’s opening Thursday, dozen of children and their parents visited the 1,400-square-foot store to test and purchase build kits. The retail space at 44125 Ford Road has stations where children can play with Magformers’ four product lines, including newly acquired Clicformers, Tile Blox and Dolce.
Among the shoppers Thursday were Ypsilanti resident Sara Desgranges and six of her eight children ranging in age from 1 to 12. Desgranges said she finds Magformers easier to use than other build systems.
“I love the options and all the new sets,” she said of the store. “I think they’re going to find out it needs to be bigger. I think a lot of people who didn’t know about it are going to find out about it. Here, they have them open for play. I think they’re going to end up with a lot of new people with kids who have never been able to experience them before.”
Magformers, in business for 10 years, is owned by Seoul, South Korea-based Gymworld Inc. The company opened its headquarters for North and South America in Plymouth in 2013. At the time there were 14 products. By the end of August, there will be 170 products, Tidwell said.
The Canton Township location is the fifth company-owned store. The others are in Germany, Seoul, the United Kingdom and China.
Magformers are also available in more than 1,400 stores in the U.S., including Kohls, Target and the Doll Hospital & Toy Soldier Shop in Berkley. Some of the products can be purchased at Toysrus.com and Amazon.com.
During its quiet presence in Plymouth, the company made contributions to the community, Tidwell said, including donating build-kits to schools in Detroit. He envisions the upper level of the new headquarters being used for an educational summer camp, and for employee training and focus groups.
“We really do want the parent and the child to give us input on what’s next,” he said.