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Eye on Business: Kidstructive Fun

NC-EOB/Kidstructive Fun (Shaun)-2/23/2012: Mary Raiche, who co-owns Kidstructive Fun in the Champlain Centre Mall in Plattsburgh with her husband, Lee, with one of the toy store’s inhabitants.

NC-EOB/Kidstructive Fun (Shaun)-2/23/2012: Mary Raiche, who co-owns Kidstructive Fun in the Champlain Centre Mall in Plattsburgh with her husband, Lee, with one of the toy store’s inhabitants. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

— Every once in a while a great white shark gets loose in the Champlain Center Mall in Plattsburgh and gracefully swims through the air, delighting unsuspecting observers.

There is no danger present; the creature is merely a rare species of floating shark, an inhabitant of a toy store called Kidstructive Fun.

Clearly, this isn’t your average toy store.

There are no blinking lights, no buzzing noises and no video games to greet visitors.

Instead there are items that inspire interaction, like puppets, instruments, science kits, puzzles, games and playsets whose themes range from knitting to building.

And sometimes that five-foot long, floating, remote contolled shark is hanging out, too.

“We give them tools to use their imaginations,” said Mary Raiche, who owns and manages Kidstructive Fun with her husband, Lee. “Kids have gifts and passions. We try to have a variety so if somebody really loves art, there’s going to be lots of options for that, whether they’re 3 years old or 18 years old.”

The family owned shop opened in Enosburg Falls, Vt., in 2008. Its second outpost opened in Plattsburgh on May 23, 2012.

Today, the toy store employs about 16 part-time employees.

Raiche said she and her hussband like to keep things as local as possible, so they try to offer products that are made in the United States. They also sell toys from Maple Landmark, a Vermont company that specializes in wooden toys.

The couple has six children of their own, and used their experiences in raising them as a template for stocking the store.

Each child is unique, Raiche said, and helping them discover what their passions are is an important part of being a parent.

“We think about what’s going to peak their interest, what is going to make kids stop and say, ‘Now that’s what I’m into,’” Raiche said.

Kidstructive Fun is located in the Champlain Centre mall in Plattsburgh, across from Wendell’s Furniture at the opposite end of the mall from the food court. It is open Monday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit facebook.com/KidstructiveFun

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