Have you heard of 77kids yet? It's a new children's store from American Eagle that started opening up this past summer. I wrote a little about them back in July. With their grand opening near me in the Chicago suburbs, I headed out to the store at Woodfield to see it in person.
The store focuses on sizes 0-14, leaving a wide age range. Although I didn't see the infant clothing at first, there is actually another section for just that in an area behind the cash wrap away from all the older children items, which I think is a smart move on their part.
As part of their plan to keep kids shopping with their parents occupied, 77kids has a variety of entertainment spread throughout the store. This isn't the movies of some other retailers but rather interactive pursuits. Children can take pictures of themselves then decorate them onscreen before printing them at the register. Two photos are printed, with one to take home and one to hang in the store.
There is also a magnetic drawing board mounted on an easel and a fun mirror toy on the other side. Giant pillows (that are not for sale, but apparently given all the requests from customers someday might be) line the floors for kids who just need a break from the tough shopping trip.
Oh - and the evidence that 77kids recognizes the issues we have when shopping with children continues. There are two family restrooms in the store with changing tables. And drinking fountains, too. No excuses for the wee ones to need to leave now!
Rather than the metal shoe measurer that has a tendency to disappear, there is a sizer painted onto the floor so that you can easily turn your child's foot to see what size he now it.
And oh the fun of the dressing rooms... I'll admit that the wee ones aren't yet old enough to try on clothing at the store (or maybe I'm just not brave enough), but once they are, I love the idea of the portholes in the dressing rooms that the child can open for mom to see how an outfit fits rather than a potentially shy child having to parade through the store.
The fun continues when you're ready to check out, too. Assuming your child has been well-behaved, 77kids also has a "Pick Yer Prize" Goodie Bar with assorted candy and small items for children to select. Tell me that isn't cute!
You can tell the store is braced for fun before you even get inside. On the front display of the store right now is a Holiday Magical Window. Children can simply press a button on the display to "race" little birds down a ski slope.
The window is the first point you learn about the current charity promotion the store is holding - Wish-4-Snow. From November 15 to December 14, people can create snowflakes either online or in-store to support children's hospitals. In-store, by donating 77 cents (or more), children receive a snowflake to decorate with their name and their wish that then hangs in the store. In Chicago, the donations support Children's Memorial.
Online, you can make a snowflake for free. The goal is to have 100,000 snowflakes created during this month - so go make yours; it's fun! If the 100,000 goal is reached, 77kids will donate $25,000 to the children's hospitals. You can create as many snowflakes as you want, and for every snowflake you create, you're eligible to win a daily $77 77kids gift card and the grand prize of a block party for you and 77 people.
Want to explore 77kids yourself? I am giving away a $50 77kids gift certificate. Don't worry if there isn't one near you (there are currently only 7 brick and mortar stores) as there is an online store. Just in time for your holiday shopping!
So what do you have to do to win the gift card? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!
This contest is open until Monday December 6 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 24 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.
Mandatory Entry: Create a snowflake on the 77kids website. Leave me the email addres you used to create the snowflake.
Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):
1) Earn one additional entry for following me and 77kids on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Help 77kids donate money to children's hospitals by making a snowflake. Details at http://honestandtrulyreviews.blogspot.com/2010/11/giveaway-77kids-gift-card.html" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.
4) Like 77kids on Facebook, leaving me the name you liked them under.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a stipend from theMotherhood and a $50 gift card to 77kids. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.