Brain Games Store Proves 'Ageless Retail' Concept

Marbles initially targeted baby boomers but the appeal is now spreading. Proving our long held belief that Ageless Marketing can embrace broad age groups.JPEG

Each product stocked must fit into one of the store’s brain development categories, such as memory, coordination and critical thinking. The store is meticulous with product selection, sending buyers to toy fairs around the world and never selling anything not approved by its panel of scientists, which includes Joni Gatz-Bauman, an educator with a background in gerontology.

The store was created to appeal to people who felt the need to exercise their minds with crosswords, software and strategy games. What ended up being created, though, was a store for everyone. Be it through word-of-mouth, advertising or a stroll past, adults have come to Marbles to play and learn, often leaving with mind-development toys and products for themselves, their parents and their children alike.

We blogged about Marbles some time ago and it seems they’re doing well. In less than two years, and in the midst of a recession, Marbles: The Brain Store has grown from a mall kiosk to four shops in the Chicago area. With further expansion expected this year, Marbles is developing a brand that bets its customers aren’t going to shortchange their brains.

The first Marbles: The Brain Store opened in October 2008 in a prime location in Chicago. Three stores followed in 2009. The Grand store, the only location that has been open for more than a year, has averaged annual sales of $620 per square ft.

After passing by the store many times, a 32-year-old personal financial coach finally entered the store, and after playing with the puzzles and games on display claimed “It’s a toy store for adults. It’s a smart store,” Long said. “I don’t know what I would call it though. Grown-up toys?” Perhaps a one-stop shopping concept for children and elderly alike.
The stores thrive on the Starbucks model, allowing customers to stay as long as they want, increasing the likelihood that sales would follow. In addition to having staff members well-versed and able to instruct store visitors in each game, Marbles often hosts game nights that have drawn dozens of participants.

Sounds like ‘Ageless Retail’ to me! I wonder if the shopping experience is age-neutral?

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