Jan St. George, otherwise known as "Jan the Toy Lady," is ending her chapter at Whiz Kids with a bang.
After successfully leading the toy store through a pandemic — followed by a year of record-high sales — St. George announced her retirement from Whiz Kids. She's worked there for 17 years.
"I've had a life of loving toys," St. George says, laughing. "I'm just a big kid."
St. George joined Whiz Kids in 2005 as a part-time employee.
"The previous owners were just opening the downtown location, and they put an ad in the newspaper looking for employees. I applied, and they gave me a chance," St. George recalls.
She quickly climbed her way up the management ladder, and purchased the store in 2010.
So we asked St. George: What did she learn during that time?
"How to juggle a hundred things at once," she begins.
(I also ask her if, as Jan the Toy Lady, she's learned to juggle physical objects as well as metaphorical ones, and she explains that yes, she can, in fact, juggle up to three physical objects.)
St. George goes on to say she's also learned to "appreciate everybody for who they are," a lesson taught to her by Whiz Kids' customers.
Those customers, she's quick to point out, are at the heart of the Whiz Kids experience for her.
They were "willing to embrace my love of learning something, but having fun doing it," she says. "I have a lot — a lot, a lot — of repeat customers. All their support is why I'm in the position I'm at right now, going out on the best year yet. It's the right time to turn the reins over to someone else."
St. George recently sold Whiz Kids to a local mother-daughter duo, Kathleen and Julia Lara, who also own French Toast Children's Boutique in Kendall Yards.
"I want everyone to support them the way they've supported me all these years," she says. "I'm turning [Whiz Kids] over to great, wonderful people who are going to love the store just as much as I have. I'm totally behind them."
2nd PLACE: Boo Radley's
3rd PLACE: Figpickels Toy Emporium, Coeur d'Alene