GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lego lovers, the wait is almost over: Bricks & Minifigs is coming to Grand Rapids.
Brick Emporium, LLC owners Julia and Nathan Petersen will own and operate the first franchise store within the city limits. Julia Petersen told News 8 they are close to signing a lease and expect to announce the exact location and grand opening date in the coming weeks.
“We just wanted a place where we could dig through bulk (Lego) and find new bricks and connect with people… and we’re excited to bring that to Grand Rapids,” Julia Petersen said.
The Petersens’ love of Lego runs deep.
“It was really part of our dating story really early on,” Julia Petersen said.
That continued over the next eight years. The Petersens used Lego minifigs to announce their engagement on social media and provided a pile of Lego bricks at each guest table during their wedding reception.
Julia Petersen says when they moved to West Michigan three years ago from Chicago, they went from having two Bricks & Minifigs stores and five Lego stores nearby to a Lego desert.
“We were kind of bummed and we joked we should open a Lego store, but we thought it was out of reach,” she said.
The couple, which has sold Lego online since 2015, had been “kicking around the dream” of opening a brick-and-mortar for years. In January, they began researching the Bricks & Minifigs franchise model.
“You’ll never know what you’re going to find in any Bricks & Minifigs… so we’re really excited about that,” Julia Petersen said.
She says the Grand Rapids store will have all the hallmarks of a Bricks & Minifigs store, with a station to build minifigs out of thousands of pieces, new-in-box retired Lego sets and used sets certified to have all their pieces.
Visitors can also dig through tables filled with bulk bricks to find the exact piece they need to finish a set or build their own creation. The store will also feature a private event space Lego superfans can rent out for celebrations.
Julia Petersen understands the itch to make your own Lego masterpiece. A Lego scene she created to honor Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen went on display this month at the Lego House in Denmark for the company’s 90th anniversary. Her coffee roaster and bakery concept is also in the running to become a Lego set.
Julia Petersen says her husband is “just as dedicated maybe not even more,” with a penchant for microbuilds. Their personal Lego collection stands at about 165 sets, not counting loose bricks and minifigs.
“It’s kind of all over the house but we try to do it tastefully,” she said of the sets.
Their stash at home is growing brick by brick as the Petersens collect inventory for their store. So far, they have amassed about 750 minifigs as well as rare Lego architecture sets, some of the Star Wars Lego collector series, classic castles and cities.
“We are knee-deep,” Julia Petersen said. “I find Lego in my shoes, it’s in the air vents, it’s all over the house… Boxes are coming in and Lego is everywhere.”
Before the store, Julia Petersen was Cornerstone University’s assistant professor of creativity and innovation. She said she used Lego in some of her lessons. Now, she’s getting ready to transition to store manager.
“There’s just so many themes and approaches that I really think there’s something for everyone,” Julia Petersen said.
Julia Petersen said that once they secure a location, they will start construction so the store can open this winter. The Petersens will offer private events packages once operations are running smoothly.