Wild Goose owners create toy storePublished 11:00am Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Perham is in for play-filled hours of fun and laughter when Goose Gang opens in May.
Goose Gang, under construction on Third Avenue, will contain a candy shop, frozen yogurt and a mountain of toys of all kinds. The hub of fun will be a sister store to Wild Goose, which has been a Perham fixture of gifts, home décor, coffee and treats for 16 years.
“We like to say that it will be the grandest toy story in northern Minnesota,” said Sue Huebsch, one of a flock leaders of Goose Gang corporation, who along with husband Doug, have some pretty strong ideas about pleasurable past-times.
“With social media and computer games, thumb skills have increased, but what is missing is interaction,” said Doug Huebsch. “We want to get kids and families active. Playing a game or doing a puzzle together creates healthy competition and helps with social skills as they learn to win and lose and interact with others.”
The Huebschs’ recently traveled as buyers to the New York Toy Show, and while they keep an eye out for the latest and greatest toys, they appreciate the classics and challenging toys that go beyond glitzy packaging.
“We are really excited to bring in time-tested classics like old radio flyer wagons and hula hoops,” said Doug. “We also look for open-ended toys that can be taken apart and reconfigured to build other things. Toys can teach kids things like engineering and science and they don’t even know it, and have fun doing it.”
“We’ll have a good art section to stir that creativity too, and a book section including local authors,” said Sue. “With the diverse products and size, we plan to be big enough and grand enough to have a regional draw.”
Goose Gang will also feature frozen yogurt and all the toppings, and a well-stocked candy shop, including locally produced Barrel O’ Fun products, Chocolate Factory licorice and Abdallah’s chocolates.
Activities like tournaments on a giant outdoor chess set are planned to inspire community participation and healthy competition.
While Sue and Doug do most of the buying for the Goose Gang, they are part of a bigger gaggle. The corporation consists of four families of turkey and cattle farmers, and a large part of their business still produces turkey eggs for Jennie O. The group also owns the NAPA auto parts store in town.
An 8600 square foot structure is being renovated to house Goose Gang. The city helped wiht the cost of demolishing three derelict rental houses on the site to allow space for parking.
The City of Perham was very supportive in the development.
“Third Avenue is a corridor that connects Main Street south to Highway 10,” said Chuck Johnson, Perham Economic Development Director. “It’s important to have businesses there that help blend the commercial and residential aspects.”
A small new building is being added to the site allowing the project’s parking lot access the side street to help ease entering and exiting solely from Third Avenue. The building will be rented to financial advisor Tim Graff from Edward Jones.
Wild Goose, which will remain in its current location, has about 25 employees, and will look to add another 8 to 10 with the addition of Goose Gang, allowing some employees to flow back and forth between the two stores as needed.