Locally-owned Brilliant Sky Toys and Books is celebrating its second birthday this Saturday with a party that will entertain children and parents alike, and the entire community is invited to join in on the fun.

Events highlighting the day include demonstrations by the Arizona Science Center, professional magician Mike Fisher, nail painting by Salon Jewels and raffles from toy vendors.

“This will be our busiest day of the year in terms of events going on,” said Janet Hoo, owner of Brilliant Sky Toys and Books. “We will also have a sidewalk sale where many books and toys will be available for 40 percent off.”

During a time when businesses are consistently stagnating and failing, Hoo has opened a seasonal second location of Brilliant Sky in Mesa.

“I think our store has done so well because of word of mouth,” Hoo said. “We get a lot of positive feedback on the toys we carry, and I think people love our vision.”

Hoo’s vision to open Brilliant Sky came out of necessity for her own children.

“I have an inquisitive boy and a creative girl, and I couldn’t find toys to hold their interest,” she said. “I was shopping online for toys, but that got really expensive.”

When Hoo chooses toys to stock her store, she strives to find toys that can grow with children and adapt to their needs.

“You should be able to find developmentally appropriate toys that can adapt with your child as they grow,” she said.

The toys available at Brilliant Sky are also different from those in large chain toy stores in that they do not follow the current fads. When parents come to her store Hoo encourages them to look for more than just fancy boxes, which is something she has based her business off of.

“When I opened Brilliant Sky I decided not to run my business based on trends,” she said. “I have taught my own children not to shop off of the commercials or shows they see on TV, so I didn’t want to base a store off that.”

One trend Hoo has effectively stayed away from is that of battery-operated toys. Less than 5 percent of the toys in her store take batteries.

“Almost every toy in here is kid or imagination powered,” she said. “I want children to use their imaginations.”

While toys at Brilliant Sky challenge the mind and imagination more than toys at big chain stores, they are comparable to big chain toy store prices. The average price point at Brilliant Sky is $14.90.

“There’s a big push at big chain stores for cheap toys right now with the bad economy, but for us low prices are normal, not special,” Hoo said. “I also offer complimentary gift wrapping, which is unheard of at most toy stores.”

When looking back over the past two years, Hoo is surprised that her store has become as popular as it has. She originally envisioned it being more of a niche store than a store that appealed to the masses.

“We try to be a resource as well as a store for uncles with no kids or grandparents who don’t know their grandchildren that well,” Hoo said. “People know that when they come to our store they will get a logical and educational recommendation on a toy to buy.”

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books’ birthday party will be held this Saturday, Oct. 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is located at 4929 E. Chandler Blvd. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BrilliantSky.

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