October 21st, 2008Acting on biz savvy, teen opens toy store
Josh Heinzl answered the phone with an enthusiastic “Hi, Josh’s Toys and Games! This is Josh.” The smile on Heinzl’s face and the welcome in his voice were quickly replaced with a blank stare and frustrated tone.
“Listen,” he spoke politely but pointedly into the phone, “are you guys going to offer me free processing? Otherwise I’m not that interested. You never offer a better rate.”
Heinzl hung up the phone and let out an agitated sigh.
“Credit-card processors,” he explained. “They call at least three times a day.”
This is the life of a new businessman. But Heinzl isn’t your typical entrepreneur; he’s 15 years old. And while he isn’t old enough to drive, the Windham native is buckled in and ready for a ride to the top, in a car made of Legos.
Josh’s Toys and Games opened last Friday in the Pheasant Lane Mall. The store, which is located on the ground level near the Sears entrance, offers a variety of Lego products as well as puzzles and games.
The grand opening of his store is just part of the vision that started when Heinzl, then 12, approached his parents with a business plan for an online Lego product store. His parents agreed to front Josh a five-figure investment on a shipment of Lego products that he would sell online and ship from his house.
Heinzl became a licensed Lego distributor and his site boomed with business. In fact, according to Heinzl, the business brought in $250,000 in its first three years.
In 2007 Heinzl started researching retail venues. He looked at a handful of strip malls as well as two Simon-affiliated malls in Massachusetts and three in New Hampshire before settling on the Pheasant Lane Mall.
“(Starting up the store) was one of those things where you’re walking around the mall saying ‘hey I could do this’ and I did,” Josh said.
So far, Heinzl said that “hundreds of customers” have visited the store in its first week.
For his mom, Mary Heinzl, investing in her son was never an issue.
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