Brett Kjellen of Berlin and his 5-year-old son Elijah have a weekly ritual. If Elijah is a good boy in school, Brett brings him to Bricks & Minifigs in Southington and lets him play for a while.
“He gets to use his imagination. It’s much better than sitting and playing with a tablet,” Kjellen says.
Bricks & Minifigs is an ideal place for any imagination — child or adult — to run wild. It’s a resale shop, but the only thing it buys, sells and trades is LEGOs.
The walls and shelves of the store are lined with gently used LEGO sets, most of which have been discontinued: Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Machine, The Simpsons’ Kwik-E-Mart, Arkham Asylum, The Big Bang Theory, Angry Birds, Minecraft, Batman, Disney princesses, a pirate ship, the Louvre, a Coast Guard cutter, Star Wars scenes, stores, vehicles and homes and dozens of other set-ups.
The glass cabinets are filled with hundreds of minifigs, those tiny figures that go into the sets. They range in price from $2 for the most common minifigs to $60 for a Princess Amidala, $65 for a Harry Potter and $80 for a little vampire in his coffin.
“We work with our nationwide network of stores and online market indicators to ensure our pricing is fair and affordable for our customers,” says Traci Schneider, who owns the store with her husband Robert.
Several tables in the shop are filled with loose LEGO pieces. Customers can sift through the pieces looking for exactly what they need. Upson says LEGO fans can find and download instructions for discontinued LEGO sets online, then come to the store to find the pieces.
Some customers come with no set pattern in mind, like Dina Dygon of Chicopee, Mass. Dygon visits the shop every two weeks and picks for hours through the loose-piece tables.
“I’m looking for pieces to make a gingerbread house,” she says. “Me and my daughter are big fans. We come up with different themes every month. There are a lot of treasures to be found here, things you can’t find in stores anymore.”
Robert and Traci Schneider, with their their son, Ethan, have been LEGO fans for years.
“We had a LEGO city in our basement, just like Lord Business” in “The LEGO Movie,” she says. Robert saw a YouTube video about the Bricks & Minifigs chain. “Once he saw that, he was dying to open a store,” she says.
Bricks & Minifigs has franchises in 22 states, as well as one in Newfoundland. The Southington store is the only Bricks & Minifigs franchise in the northeastern United States.
Traci says the shop hosts kids’ birthday parties, meetings of the Connecticut LEGO Users’ Group (LUG) and other activities, such as a spring break event on April 11 from 1 to 2 p.m.
“We’re going to do a storytime build. We’ll read a story, ‘The Three Little Pigs,’ and then you can build your own wolf-proof house,” she says. Admission to the one-hour event is $12 per child.
Traci runs the store, which is the new home for their LEGO city. “It started out as my husband’s hobby, but I love being here, seeing the excitement on kids’ faces, chatting with the adult collectors,” she says.
BRICKS & MINIFIGS is at 1173 Queen St. in Southington. It is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To reserve a spot in the spring break, or to book a party, call 860-385-1007.