The building blocks are set up for the area’s first Bricks and Minifigs, a chain of stores that sells new and used Legos.
Local husband and wife Paul and Carrie Indelicato bought the franchise rights to bring the brand to the Richmond market and rented an outpost last week in the Colonnades West shopping center.
The next store will buy, sell and trade Legos and should be operational in mid-December. The store occupies a 2,500 square foot space at 10953 W. Broad St., adjacent to the Marshalls.
As self-described AFOLs (a Lego community acronym for “adult Lego fan”), the Indelicatos hope their shop will be a hub for local Lego enthusiasts to get together and talk about blocks.
“The business model is based not only on what you can sell, but how you can give back and be part of the community. You can buy Lego anywhere, but we want you to come here and hang around,” Paul said.
The store plans to reserve space for a community room and will host birthday parties and charity events featuring Legos.
Franchisees build their inventory through distributors as well as through their own purchase of used Legos online.
“You do a lot of shopping in advance. Over the past four months, we’ve been buying inventory on Facebook and Craigslist,” Paul said. “But the company (Bricks and Minifigs) has also done a great job working with suppliers for these official sets.”
Bricks and Minifigs is an independent franchise chain of the famous Danish toy company.
“We work with official Lego distributors and are considered an official Lego supplier,” Paul said.
The Indelicatos have claimed local territory which includes West Henrico, Northside Richmond, Ashland and Mechanicsville. They hope to open another store or two in the next three to five years.
The Indelicatos’ journey to becoming Lego store owners began in 2017 when a friend of Paul’s informed him of the existence of Bricks and Minifigs as a potential business opportunity.
Plans for a store were scrapped as the Indelicatos prepared to move from Ohio to the Richmond area in 2019, where they both grew up.
But Paul never forgot the possibility of Bricks and Minifigs. Feeling that the pandemic was ebbing, it seemed high time to revisit the idea.
“I always had the Bricks and Minifigs website bookmarked and checked them out. They did not bend (during the pandemic). They have weathered the pandemic really well and this year I thought I should call them and give them a shot,” Paul said.
Bricks and Minifigs estimates it costs between $99,000 and $225,000 to open a store, according to its website. The initial franchise fee is $25,000 and the company estimates starting inventory will be between approximately $24,700 and $54,000.
Bricks and Minifigs, which opened its first store in 2010, lists more than 50 stores in the United States and Canada currently open or planned on its website.
Paul, who has a retail background from a 10-year stint at Sherwin Williams, is currently a data analyst for Markel Corp. He plans to keep this position but manage the store’s books. Carrie will be the store manager and lead day-to-day operations.
They bring with them their love of Lego. A particular Lego de Paul favorite is the Voltron set, which is a model of the robot featured in the 1980s cartoon series of the same name.
Carrie said she doesn’t have a favorite kit per se, but loves the Modular Buildings collection, which is a series of intricate Lego buildings. After the birth of her first son, the show’s 1930s-style fire station was a welcome way to unwind and spurred her interest in the hobby.
“I had a lot of downtime when he was sleeping and napping,” she said. “It’s something to do to relax my mind. Lego is such a great toy and a great thing for people to come together and share their creativity.
The Henrico-based store is taking shape as Lego embarks on the construction of a 1.7 million square foot brick manufacturing plant in Chesterfield County. The company recently launched the project.
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