Dayton Brick Shop | Photo by Bethany Althauser | The Wright State Guardian
Just off of Bigger Road, the Dayton Brick Shop offers LEGOs and events to adults and kids alike, bringing the Dayton community together since and through the pandemic.
Recognizing a need
While the pandemic hurt many small businesses, there was also a new opportunity. Dayton Brick Shop Owner Nick O’Donnell and Store Manager Jamie Cox saw that opportunity. The Dayton community could not go outside as much, and LEGO-building was the perfect indoor activity.
O’Donnell’s photography business had shut down due to the pandemic, and O’Donnell began selling LEGOs online. O’Donnell subsequently recognized the demand for the sets and asked Cox for assistance with the shipping and packaging of orders.
Then came the question: What if we opened a shop?
“[O’Donnell said] ‘I’ve always wanted to open a shop. It’s been a dream of mine, would you help me?’ And I was like, ‘Sure,’ not realizing what I was getting into at all because I’d never played with LEGOs, I’d never built LEGOs or anything like that as a kid. So I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll help you,’ and then it just went crazy and here we are,” Cox said.
And so the Dayton Brick Shop opened in October 2020, riding the wave of demand created by the pandemic and filling the need for such a shop, since no store like it opened in their native Kettering. Starting with only Friday and Saturday hours, the shop is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The demand also pushed the Dayton Brick Shop to move from its original small Centerville location to the new location just off Bigger Road.
The location offers LEGOs of all kinds, whether someone is looking for Elsa’s Castle or a bouquet of roses. Often, these sets are cheaper than retail prices, especially used sets.
The shop also offers the option to sell your own LEGO sets.
Looking for a specific brick? No problem. Fill up a small or large bag of LEGO pieces at a low price at one of two assorted brick tables. Want a custom minifigure? Make your very own with dozens of different combinations at the minifigure table, or perhaps take a photo with ‘Brickolas,’ the lifesize minifigure.
Occasionally, the store will also have sets no longer produced.
A community shop
The community aspect of the brick shop is paramount to its success.
Events include birthday parties, adult 21+ build nights, minifigure build nights once a month, Halloween night, Connect Kids Club and more. The location will host up to a half dozen birthday parties per weekend.
The shop recently hosted an event where customers could put their favorite LEGO sets on their wishlist, and management selected one lucky winner to receive everything on their list.
At the conclusion of 2023, the store collected all of their tips for the year and donated $40,000 worth of LEGOs to Dayton Children’s Medical Center and Hope’s Closet.
The donations did not stop there, as the store also hosted a toy drive where they collected over 200 donations.
The store is not only a good environment for customers but for the employees as well.
“I would say one of my favorite parts of working here would be when an adult comes in and they see a set and act like a child. They are so excited to see a set in-person, and they are like, ‘I’ve never seen this in-person before,’ and they get all giddy, and it’s like bringing them back to their childhood,” Cox said.
Trevor Seech-Hrvatin is another employee at the Dayton Brick Shop, working at the shop since August of last year, fulfilling a childhood dream of working at a LEGO store.
“What drew me to the store in the first place is the community that the store has built. They are super friendly, and getting to build connections with the guests is just super powerful, and just getting to see kids’ and adults’ faces brighten up every day is just a joy,” Seech-Hrvatin said.
For more information about the Dayton Brick Shop, visit their website.
Readers can also call the shop at 937-971-0770 or email email@example.com.