In addition to the online LEGO® Store, which some A.F.O.L.s and parents buying LEGO® kits for their children might recall was originally called LEGO® Shop at Home, and The LEGO® Group’s chain of bricks-and-mortar LEGO® Stores, there are, of course, LEGOLAND® gift shops. [The latter are not owned by LEGO A/S (doing business as The LEGO® Group) but rather by Merlin Entertainments. However, the Kristiansen family who founded and own The LEGO® Group still indirectly own those LEGOLAND® theme parks because they own a sizable amount of stock in Merlin Entertainments.] Most of the space in this article is devoted to specialized independent toy stores that just sell LEGO® products or primarily sell LEGO® products, such as Bricks & Minifigs and Brickmania, but I am sharing info on department stores, big-box retailers, Barnes & Noble, independent generalized toy shops, online retailers such as e-bay and Amazon, thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets.
Department Stores and Big-Box Stores
Department stores often have toy departments, and big-box stores always have toy departments. Every department store doesn’t have a toy department, though. Of the national department store chains, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penny have toy departments. Von Maur, a high-end department store in certain suburbs and exurbs of Chicago, also has a toy department. Nordstrom’s lacks a toy department.
Big-box retailers (such as Walmart) have toy departments, too. In big box retailers the amount of space devoted to LEGO® can be as much or almost as much as would be devoted to a particular cuisine (such as Mexican food or Italian food) in the grocery department or in a grocery store. Two of these big box retailers, Walmart (formerly Wal-Mart) and Meijer, will place LEGO® kits that haven’t sold out fast enough to make room for newer kits in the clearance department. Consequently, parents, grandparents, older siblings, uncles and aunts, looking to save money on gifts for children; A.F.O.L.s (adult fans of LEGO®) seeking kits they missed out on (or want to buy more of) whether to (1) build the kit as designed or (2) to acquire pieces for a M.O.C. (my own creation); and speculators hoping to find something to purchase and re-sell unopened via eBay, Amazon Marketplace, etc. should check out the clearance department as well as the toy department.
One big box store/wholesale club, Costco, generally only sells one kind of LEGO® kit with a generic assortment of bricks suitable for a small child throughout much of the year and then expands the selection to include a variety of LEGO® sets a couple of months before Christmas. In 2021, Costco sold the LEGO® Creator 3-in-1 Medieval Castle and LEGO® Friends Heartlake Grand Hotel, which both had a list price of $99, for $75, and quickly sold out of both.
Independent Toy Stores
Independent toy stores often have a great selection of LEGO® kits. The owners of and workers at such shops are often people who love toys, love children, and love sharing their love of toys with children. Whether you’re an A.F.O.L. looking for kits to build as designed or to purchase a kit just to get pieces for your M.O.C., or you’re looking to buy something for your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, godchildren, etc., consider checking out independent toy shops in your vicinity or towns you pass through.
To give just two examples, Berwyn’s Toys & Trains in Berwyn, Illinois and America’s Best Train, Toy & Hobby Shop in Itasca, Illinois are both independent toy stores that are evenly divided between model trains on one side and toys on the other, and both shops have a good assortment of LEGO® kits as well as kits manufactured by competitors of The LEGO® Group, such as COBI, in addition to Playmobil, Schleich, and stuffed animals. I highly recommend both places.
The address of Berwyn’s Toys & Trains is 7025 Ogden Avenue, Berwyn, Illinois 60402. They are at the northeast corner of Ogden Avenue and Wenonah Avenue. It is just a few blocks east of scenic downtown Riverside, Illinois. That places the store three blocks east of the intersection of Ogden Avenue and Harlem Avenue. They’re closed on Sundays; open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays; and open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Their phone number is (708) 484-4384.
The address of America’s Best Train, Toy & Hobby Shop is 865 Maplewood Drive, Itasca, Illinois 60143. The address is somewhat misleading. The store is in a strip mall that faces Maplewood Drive, to be sure, but most customers who aren’t residents of that neighborhood in Itasca will approach the place by way of Irving Park Road.
They’re closed on Sundays; open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; and open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Their phone number is (630) 467-1102. On the Website, they ask customers to call to confirm they’re open before driving over.
Barnes & Noble
If you haven’t stepped inside a Barnes & Noble superstore in recent years, you might not know that every Barnes & Noble bookshop has a toy department. Furthermore, in recent years, as the multimedia department with D.V.D.s and C.D.s have shrunk (due to competition from streaming services) has shrunk in each Barnes & Noble shop, the size of the department(s) devoted to toys, games, and collectables has grown.
Dedicated LEGO® Retailers Independent of The LEGO® Group
There are yet other retailers that sell LEGO® products which are not owned by, and are completely independent of, The LEGO® Group, and I do not mean the department stores, big-box retailers, or independent toy stores that offer a limited selection of the same LEGO® sets one can currently find in a LEGO® Store. Rather, I refer to highly specialized toy shops that either (a) sell new and used LEGO® products exclusively or (b) mostly sell LEGO® products and also offer a small selection of products from companies that make accessories that are compatible with LEGO® Minifigures® such as BrickArms®, and possibly a small selection of products from competitors of The LEGO® Group that are compatible with LEGO® Bricks.
Bricks & Minifigs
Most notably, Bricks & Minifigs® has a chain of stores across the U.S.A. and one additional store in Canada. Founded in Canby, Oregon in 2009, Bricks & Minifigs® began to franchise in 2011. There are six Bricks & Minifigs® stores in Texas, one in New Mexico, two in Nevada, three in California, five in Oregon (including the original shop), one in Washington, one in Idaho, one in Montana, three in Utah, two in Colorado, one in Nebraska, one in Kansas, one in Tennessee, one in Kentucky, three in Illinois, one in Wisconsin, one in Michigan, one in Connecticut, and one in Florida. The one in Canada is in St. John, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Bricks & Minifigs® shop in Canby, Oregon remains the flagship store. In 2021, Entrepreneur Media, Inc. ranked Bricks & Minifigs® second on the list of Children’s Retail Franchises. The initial investment was $109,000 to $276,000. Parents can also rent out rooms for birthday parties at Bricks & Minifigs shops. I have purchased Collectible Minifigures from the Bricks & Minifigs® shop in Wheaton, Illinois.
Founded by Daniel Siskind in 1999 (and effectively re-founded by him ten years later), Brickmania, L.L.C. is a firm known for designing, making, and selling custom sets of historically accurate military vehicles comprised of LEGO® bricks to A.F.O.L.s (adult fans of LEGO®) and T.F.O.L.s (teenage fans of LEGO®). In 2021, Brickmania® returned to its roots with the release of a Viking longship and several limited-edition ancient Rome kits. The Brickmania Website has an online shop. In addition, Brickmania has retail stores in Minneapolis; Chicago; and Chantilly, Virginia; San Diego; and Vallejo, California. I have written articles about both Brickmania, L.L.C. and the Brickmania Chicago Store.
Andy’s Brick Shop
Andy’s Brick Shop sells, buys, and trades new and used LEGO® kits and Minifigures™ and loose LEGO® pieces by the pound. They have a retail shop in Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, Pennsylvania that opened in September of 2018. I have not had the pleasure of shopping there, but I have bought pieces from Andy’s online shop on BrickLink.
The address is Oxford Valley Mall, 2300 Lincoln Highway, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047. They are open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays; from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; and from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Their phone number is (215) 757-5346.
The Atlanta Brick Company
The Atlanta Brick Co. sells, buys, and trades new and used LEGO® kits and Minifigures™ at a superstore in Newnan, Georgia, and through the mail. They also sell LEGO® kits and pieces online via their Website and a BrickLink store. At the superstore, they also sell BrickArms weapons. Owners Chris and Ed had been independently selling toys online since the 1990s before they met at the New York Comic Con and discovered they lived within five miles from each other. They formed a partnership, decided to focus on the sale of LEGO® pieces, and they opened a warehouse for their online business in 2015. Subsequently, they opened that warehouse to the public and it became their superstore.
Atlanta Brick Co. has two YouTube channels: Atlanta Brick Co TV and Between The Studs. The latter is more of a podcast.
The address for their superstore is 2826 GA-154, Newnan, Georgia 30265. The store is west side of 154, and south of the intersection with Col. Joe M. Jackson Medal of Honor Highway.
They are open from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. Every other day of the week, they are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Their phone number is (470) 414-2208.
One retailer in Frisco, Texas brickLAB, Inc. has a store an online arm on BrickLink with a slightly different name: Bricklabtx. They buy, sell, and trade LEGO® pieces. I have bought pieces from the online store.
The proprietors are ambitious. You can rent out the Maker Space for $12.50 per hour. They have developed S.T.E.M. curricula for students from preschool through 12th grade for homeschoolers, public schools, private schools, and individual learners, bur currently classes are only online.
The address is 2552 Stonebrook Parkway, Suite 250, Frisco, Texas 75034. Their phone number is (972) 704-3325.
Bricks & Wheels
Bricks & Wheels has two shops in Washington State, one in Kent and one in Bellevue. They sell new and used LEGO® sets, Minifigures®, and loose pieces.
Connect the Brick
Connect the Brick is a shop in Tacoma, Washington started in 2015 by a ten-year-old boy named Eric Vasquez with the help of his parents Antonio & Louisa. They sell, buy, and trade new and gently used LEGO® bricks, sets, and Minifigures™.
Credit: The New Tribune Caption: Ten-year-old Eric Vasquez shows off some products at his shop Connect the Brick in an interview.
Currently, they are only open on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Previously, they were also open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but they had to temporarily close on those days due to remodeling construction work. This temporary closure was supposed to extend from 23rd of February to the 19th of March, 2022, but their Website has not been updated to reflect re-opening on those days.
The address is 3901 North 27th Street, Tacoma, Washington 98407. The phone number is (253) 627-5322.
Minifig Market in Little Elm, a Dallas suburb, that buys, sells, and trades LEGO® products. They lack a Website, but they have an online store on BrickLink and a Facebook page.
The address is 2661 Little Elm Parkway, Little Elm, Texas 75068. The phone number is (510) 705-0040.
Sasquatch Bricks has a shop in University Place, Washington, which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. They also have an online arm on BrickLink called “Everything StarWars & More.” They closed the online store on Wednesday, April 27, A.D. 2022 and the bricks-and-mortar store on Saturday, April 30, A.D. 2022 to move the latter. They hope to re-open the bricks-and-mortar store on Wednesday, May 11, A.D. 2022 and will re-open the online store as soon as they have re-organized in the ne physical space. Their phone number is (253) 432-1514.
The Minifigure Store
The Minifigure Store is an on-line LEGO® retailer that sells LEGO® sets, Minifigures™, loose elements and accessories, animals, poly bag LEGO® sets, keyrings, magazines, and party supplies. The Minifigure Store/Rare Brix is in the U.K., so all prices are in British pounds.
Of course, there is also BrickLink, an online international second-hand LEGO® marketplace. In order to strengthen ties with A.F.O.L.s, The LEGO® Group, announced on Monday, November 25, A.D. 2019 the acquisition of BrickLink, Ltd. from NXMH. Founded by Dan Jezek in April of 2000, BrickLink is the world’s largest LEGO® online A.F.O.L. community and marketplace. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the Website is a platform that has over 1,000,000 members and compromises an online marketplace of over 10,000 stores from seventy countries, digital building software that enables builders to design and showcase their creations, and an online community where A.F.O.L.s share ideas and “builds” (models).
BrickLink enables A.F.O.L.s to share pictures and designs of their custom creations; to sell each other loose Minifigures™, other LEGO® bricks or other elements, and whole sets that were formerly sold in LEGO® Stores and other toyshops; and to discuss all things LEGO-related. Consequently, if an adult wants to purchase a set that is no longer being produced, possibly from a theme (product line) that is no longer being produced, for a child, grandchild, niece or nephew, or younger sibling; or wants to purchase, out of a sense of nostalgia, a set he or she desired as a child and never received as a present; or wants to purchase a particular Minifigure™, other element, or whole set to complete a custom creation of his or her own design, the customer can often find multiple sellers through the BrickLink Global Marketplace. As of December of 2019, there were 10,825 stores around the world selling new and used LEGO® Minifigures, bricks, other elements, and whole sets on the BrickLink Global Marketplace and 1,217,922 BrickLink Members in the Active Community.
Born in Czechoslovakia (then part of the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact) on June 25, A.D. 1977 Dan Jezek was the only child of Professor Jaroslav Jezek, a famous mathematician who taught at Charles University (also known as the University of Prague), and his wife, Eliska. Dan was a sickly child who had several hospital visits. Eliska later came to the realization that Dan’s poor health was due to toxins in the environment. The Jezeks were not rich by any means, but they did lead lives of privilege. They were able to travel abroad, to Germany, Canada, and the U.S.A. during summer vacations at Charles University. Dan received his first LEGO® set, a fire station, at the age of three upon his father’s return from a foreign excursion. At the age of nine, he began to play with his father’s personal computer. They had to build it slowly, but they had a vacation home. In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the oppressive Communist regimes of Eastern Europe collapsed, Professor Jezek received an offer to teach at the University of Hawaii. Subsequently, Dan Jezek emigrated with his parents to the U.S.A., and arrived on Oahu on Christmas Eve in 1990.
Professor Jezek would later return to Prague in what had become the Czech Republic (after Czechoslovakia broke up into the Czech Republicand Slovakia), but Eliska and Dan stayed in Hawaii, which Eliska found to be a better climate for Dan’s health. For years, they eked out a living in Kailua. [Although Eliska had a law degree from the University of Prague, she was unable to practice law in the U.S.A.] Dan became a competitive power-lifter who won several trophies. He studied computer science at a community college and the University of Hawaii. In 2002, he became a naturalized citizen.
In 2000, he had founded BrickLink as a means to connect with fellow A.F.O.L.s around the world. Initially, it was just a hobby, but he was the sole owner, developer, and administrator of BrickLink and it became a full-time job. According to a eulogy delivered by his friend, Larry Hawthorne, at a service held on October 22, A.D. 2010, for the first two years of the Website’s existence, Dan called it BrickBay, but eBay pressured him to change the name.
By the time of his sudden death at the age of thirty-three, BrickLink was one of the 50,000 most-visited Websites on the planet, which may not sound very impressive but that was out of the almost 200,000,000 Websites that already existed on the Internet. Unfortunately, he died on September 24, A.D. 2010 with unrealized plans to wed, purchase a home, and start a family. His father, Professor Jezek died just three months later, in February of 2011. Eliska carried on her son’s legacy under the “Jezek Family” banner until June of 2013.
In 2013, NXMH acquired BrickLink. NXMH is owned by Korean multi-billionaire Jung-Ju (“Jay”) Kim, one of the richest men in South Korea.
Niels B. Christiansen, C.E.O. of The LEGO® Group, stated, “Our adult fans are extremely important to us. They are passionate, committed and endlessly creative. We have worked closely with the community for many years and look forward to deepening our collaboration. We plan to continue to support BrickLink’s active marketplace and evolve BrickLink’s digital studio which allows our talented fans to take their creativity to the next level.”
The aforementioned Jung-Ju (“Jay”) Kim, owner of NXMH, stated, “It has been a privilege to lead the transformation of BirckLink during the past six years. I am grateful to the community for being so welcoming, supportive and constructive. I am constantly amazed by everyone’s endless creativity and their love for building. I am confident the platform will be in good hands with the LEGO Group. As a fan myself, I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Julia Goldin, Chief Marketing Officer of The LEGO® Group, stated, “BrickLink provides the LEGO Group with a unique opportunity to connect with adult fans through new channels and exciting experiences. We’ve recently collaborated with BrickLink on a range of crowd-sourced sets to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the [LEGO®] brick. We learned a lot and are keen to explore more ways of working together to create value. We look forward to collaborating further with our adult fans. While retaining and nurturing the independent spirit of the digital platform.”
The acquisition also included Sohobricks, which makes small batches of building elements. The LEGO® Group did not disclose financial terms of the acquisition.
eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace
There are speculators who purchase LEGO® kits, never open them in the hope that they will appreciate, and then try to sell them on eBay or through Amazon Marketplace. On eBay, there are sellers offering new and used LEGO® kits, new and used LEGO® bricks in bulk by the pound or in increments for M.O.C.s and instructions for M.O.C.s in PDF format.
In addition to being able to purchase new LEGO® kits and Collectible Minifigures™ from Amazon and stores and individual sellers through Amazon Marketplace, A.F.O.L.s and T.F.O.L.s can purchase LEGO® bricks in bulk in increments of 20, 50, 100, or 200 bricks for M.O.C.s. from Amazon and Amazon Marketplace.
For the most part, people who offer LEGO® bricks for sale via Facebook Marketplace are selling individual pieces second-hand such as ten horses for $30 or twenty Minifigures for $50, etc. However, occasionally, someone will sell a whole kit in the box new or used. Most of these sellers offer to ship whatever they are selling, but some of them give the option of meeting local customers in person. Obviously, one should exercise caution when meeting a stranger to purchase something, even if that thing is a toy.
As of this writing, Overstock.com isn’t selling any official LEGO® products, but they are selling LEGO®-inspired art decals and two different versions of the UTEX-2 worktable for small children. Tykes can store LEGO® bricks and pieces in the drawers and build on the table surface.
Thrift Shops & Garage Sales
Thrift shops (known as charity shops in the U.K.), which sell donated goods second-hand to generate revenue for charities, have toy departments. You might hit it lucky and find a kit for sale that has parts you need, and of, course, you’re helping a charity with every purchase. Generally, when a thrift store sells LEGO® products, it will be in the form of a complete (or nearly complete) kit in its original box but inside that box the bricks and other pieces will be in plastic bags of the type parents usually pack a child’s sandwich in.
This isn’t to disparage the people who donate to thrift store or the people who work in thrift stores but be sure to thoroughly clean any toys you buy in a thrift store, especially if your children or grandchildren will or might be handling them. You don’t know how the toys were stored before being donated to the thrift store in question and you don’t know how many customers handled them at the thrift store before you bought them.
If your neighbors (or residents of a neighborhood you’re passing through) are having a garage sale, you might be lucky and find a collection for sale with pieces you need. Generally, people selling LEGO® products at a garage sale are not going to be selling complete kits in their boxes but rather random loose bricks and pieces in boxes or bags. You’ll likely find items from different themes such as LEGO® Castle, LEGO® City, LEGO® Space, and LEGO® Pirates randomly mixed altogether. A few years ago, a friend of mine naively asked on Facebook if he got a good deal when he purchased a garbage bag full of LEGO® bricks at a garage sale for $20.
Plus, you’re helping your neighbors (or residents of a neighborhood you’re passing through). If they didn’t need the money, they wouldn’t be selling their stuff. You’re also helping them de-clutter their home because if anybody in the household really wanted that stuff, they wouldn’t be offering it for sale. Keep in mind, at a garage sale the customer needs to pay with cash.
If you are willing to buy LEGO® bricks and pieces second-hand via Bricks & Minifigs, BrickLink, or a thrift shop, you might be willing to check out a flea market. An example is Swap-O-Rama® Flea Market in Chicago; southwest suburban Alsip, Illinois; and west suburban Melrose Park, Illinois. Customers pay a small fee to enter Swap-O-Rama. Vendors sell a wide variety of things.
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 Under its new ownership, Toys R us has partnered with Macey’s so that the toy department of a Macy’s is branded as a Toys R Us.
 If you buy a toy via Sears.com, as with anything you purchase on Sears.com, pay attention to whether you are purchasing something from Sears (or Kmart) or from a speculator through Sears Marketplace.
 Berwyn and Itasca are both western suburbs of Chicago, but Berwyn is an inner-ring suburb in Cook County and Itasca is an outer-ring suburb in northernmost DuPage County.
 The strip mall is south of Irving Park Road, with its back to that road, and the way to reach the parking lot from Irving Park Road is by way of Spring Lake Drive, which is east of the strip mall and parking lot, and intersects with Maplewood Drive, which is south of the strip mall and parking lot. This stretch of Irving Park Road is ¼ of a mile east of Old 53/Rohlwing Road and is west of I-290 and I-355.
 In addition to being Chief Executive Officer of The LEGO® Group, Christiansen is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Demant A/S, a hearing healthcare company.