BIZNOTE: New owner for West Seattle Junction toy store Curious Kidstuff

(WSB photo: Ann Walker and Elisabeth Dahl)

As of Thursday, West Seattle’s toy store will have a new owner. Longtime Curious Kidstuff proprietor Ann Walker wanted to share this news as she gets ready to say goodbye:

Ann would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the many parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and children who have shopped and played at Curious Kidstuff during the 21 years in business.

Ann is super excited to introduce you to the new owner, Elisabeth Dahl. Elisabeth owns a specialty toy store on Bainbridge Island called Calico Toy Shoppe. Elisabeth has been in business many years. She is an excellent toy and book buyer and will have a store full of creative and fun merchandise.

Ann hopes all the children who have visited the shop during the 21 years have a special place in their hearts and memories of a place they used to visit that felt safe, fun, and full of love.

Ann has also placed her Vashon home on the market and will start a new chapter in Yakima, Washington.

Ann hopes that Curious Kidstuff can see another two generations pass through the doors and that people will continue to see the value in supporting small business everywhere.

We talked with Ann and Elisabeth at the shop (4740 California SW) on Monday. Elisabeth says the name will stay the same and no changes are planned so far – she wants to “get in and see what the community wants.” She will also continue to operate her Bainbridge shop, which she says started with 1,000 square feet a dozen years ago and has more than quadrupled in size. It is a similar type of store, she says – both Calico and Curious are members of the industry association ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association). She has a deep-running family history with helping kids have fun – her grandfather owned a North Seattle amusement park called Playland for decades!

13 Replies to "BIZNOTE: New owner for West Seattle Junction toy store Curious Kidstuff"

  • Shannon Holt July 30, 2019 (3:07 pm)

    Best of luck to you, Ann!! We have so many fond memories of coming in to buy toys throughout the years. It was always so nice to see your smiling face. Wishing you lots of happiness in Yakima. I met Elisabeth and her family while on vacation over Spring Break (such a small world) and she is great! It’s so wonderful that Ann found a new owner that will continue to make Curious Kidstuff the great place that it has always been. West Seattle wouldn’t be the same without it.

  • AMD July 30, 2019 (5:54 pm)

    Thank you for creating such a wonderful store, Ann, and best wishes in your next chapter.  I’ve purchased every birthday and Christmas present for my nieces and nephews here every year since I first stumbled across Curious Kidstuff.  When they came to visit me from Maryland, we took a trip to your shop so they could see for themselves this cool toy store I told them we had here (their specific visit requests were “the Space Needle, the gum wall, and that store where you buy all the cool toys at Christmas”).  You’re an institution here and afar!  Welcome, Elisabeth!  I’m so excited to hear that this store will be continuing with an owner who understands what’s special about local, specialty toy stores.  I look forward to many more holiday shopping trips at Curious Kidstuff!

  • Karen July 30, 2019 (6:09 pm)

    Several years ago I was about to purchase just one more thing for grandkids when  their grandfather told Ann that I had already spent my monthly Curious Kidstuff budget.  she sweetly smiled at him and gift wrapped it.  A most favorite memory of her wonderful shop.Many thanks, Ann, for helping me spoil those kids.

  • Junction Lady July 30, 2019 (7:53 pm)

    Congratulations to both women!

  • ACG July 30, 2019 (9:26 pm)

    Thank you, Ann, for bringing joy to my kids with all the wonderful toys. And for bailing me out when I needed last minute birthday presents (and wrapping them so beautifully!!)I’ve been to the toy store on Bainbridge and it was really cute and had fun things. Kind of reminded me of Curious Kidstuff, actually. So,  welcome Elisabeth!

  • LAH July 31, 2019 (7:52 am)

    I’m over on Bainbridge quite often and Calico is a fantastic shop!  Curious Kidstuff will be in good hands.  

  • Kim July 31, 2019 (8:13 am)

    Maybe they can order dolls with different ethnicities. Every time I go in there, it’s only white dolls and that doesn’t represent all of WS so maybe the new owners can look at their inventory.

  • WSmom July 31, 2019 (8:21 am)

    While it is sad to see Ann go, I am so pleased with the outcome of this!  Calico is another AMAZING kids store filled with a great STEM selection and wonderful displays.  Excited to know that the quality and care given at Curious Kidstuff will remain!  

  • Maria July 31, 2019 (10:12 am)

    Glad to hear, and congratulations to both.   A real toy store  with inventory that is timeless.  Not sure if CK still runs activities upstairs, but I remember bringing kids up there for some crafting.

  • Sierra July 31, 2019 (12:36 pm)

    Thank you Ann! Curious Kid Stuff was the go-to in our house for birthday and holiday gifts, and your unique selection even saved one of my son’s school projects. Best of luck to you!

  • Erica August 1, 2019 (12:34 pm)

    Thank you for such a wonderful store, Ann! I buy every birthday gift there, and the beautiful wrapping is an added bonus. It makes me happy just to walk in there, and I’m so glad the shop will remain and be in good hands. This store is one of the best things about West Seattle!

  • Bridget August 1, 2019 (10:12 pm)

    From the point of view of a vendor I must say that I loved doing business with Ann. I am sad to see you go Ann, but so happy that your retirement doesn’t mean the end of one of my favorite West Seattle stores.

  • Kathy Chadband August 3, 2019 (7:24 am)

    I don’t know you Ann but it speaks volumes for you to leave your store  in such capable hands!  I have no grandchildren yet but love any excuse to shop for others at Calico Cat!  Congratulations on your retirement and know that Elisabeth will continue to make your clients happy!  

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