New retail concept for kids makes Chicago debut

New York City -- A new retail concept, Wonder!, has opened it first location in Deerfield, Ill. The 135,000-sq.-ft. space is intended as a one-stop shopping solution, focused on children ages birth to seven years. It combines a broad selection of product (including baby gear, furniture, bedding, apparel, and toys) with an array of experiential elements.

The brainchild of entrepreneur Shane Christensen, the company plans to expand the concept into other major markets in the next year (it already has launched an e-commerce site). Bill Colaianni, former Walmart chief marketing and merchandising officer for Central America, is serving as CEO. 

“As a company comprised of parents, we decided to create a destination where you could buy everything you could ever dream of for infants and young children, but at the same time make shopping actually fun for the entire family,” Christensen said. “I saw with my own eyes how fragmented the children’s retail environment was with boutiques, specialty chains, mass merchants, and play and party locations.”

Designed by Gensler, Wonder! features a half-acre interactive play area, complete with 20-ft. live trees, 10 classrooms and a stage that will host special events, concerts and activities. To always provide a new play experience, the retailer plans to frequently change the play area’s components.

Other Wonder! attractions include a space for customized parties,

“After being in the business for 35 years, I can tell you that the Wonder! concept is smart, fresh and unlike anything out there right now in the world of children’s retail,” said CEO Colaianni. “We are setting out to change the game, to create an experiential shopping destination for parents and their kids and make a difference in parents’ lives.”

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