MadisonOriginalsMagazine.com | 13 opened Playthings in May 1986 at the Northgate Shopping Center. With help from her siblings—sister Alice, who has retail ownership experience and an art background, and brother Skip, a very talented artist who designed the logo which she still uses today—Nancy made it through the rst year. “I asked Skip to create a logo that said fun, entertaining, and educational. He created the jack-in-the-box with the drama faces on the front, peering into a microscope. The tagline we use is ‘toys to entertain, educate, and fascinate.’”When second son, Trevor, was born in 1987, Nancy now had two little test marketers to try out the toys. One of the selections was a grow-a-frog kit which Nancy ordered when Spencer was in rst grade. “The directions said that the frogs could live to be 15 years old, and my husband and I joked that Spencer would be graduating from college by that time. Well, guess what, he graduated, and we still had the frog!”Nancy originally wanted to open her shop at Hilldale, but at that time space rarely became available. In 1994, a small 750-square-foot space opened up so Nancy moved. She jumped when the opportunity arose to knock down a wall from a vacant space next door to create a larger store. And, “When Hilldale renovated, we moved further down the west wing to a space more than double what we had, and ended up knocking a wall down for a total of 5,000 square feet.” Then when Joseph Freed, a development company, bought Hilldale and began renovations again, Nancy moved the store to the south end of the mall to a space the same size as her old store.