Business

Lil Sprouts Toy Shop: Where eco-friendly meets fun

Michelle Lanning and her 7-year-old son Tyler take a break at Lil Sprouts Toy Shop, which opened in downtown Kingston in July. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Michelle Lanning and her 7-year-old son Tyler take a break at Lil Sprouts Toy Shop, which opened in downtown Kingston in July.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

KINGSTON–Michelle Lanning has packed a whole lot of fun into a tiny nook on Kingston’s main drag.

Just a block from the ferry terminal on State Route 104 rests Lil Sprouts Toy Shop, which – at long last, she said – filled the need for a toy store in Kingston wheh it opened in July. The store is arranged just so: Rows of pink- and pastel-colored dolls line one side, while rough-and-tumble cars, trucks and Legos anchor the other. It’s a theme with which children are well-acquainted: Girls’ toy on one side, boys’ on the other.

“Now Kingston locals do not have to drive to Silverdale to get last-minute baby shower gifts and birthday presents,” Lanning said. “You can go to downtown Kingston, have a gourmet taco at Salsa (her neighboring store) some ice cream at Mora’s and grab a toy at the toy shop, complete with complimentary gift bag.”

Lil Sprouts is no ordinary toy shop. It’s one that’s eco-conscious. Everything in the shop is eco-friendly or heirloom quality, she said. The trucks, tools sets and tea sets are all manufactured from recycled milk jugs—a fact her 7-year-old son, Tyler, is quick to point out—and the rest are toys parents can pass down through the generations, provided they are willing to give them up to their children.

While eco-friendly is all the current rage, Lanning points out that her family was environmentally friendly long before it was trendy.

The Suquamish native’s grandfather, Ted Playter, owned and operated a scrap-metal shop on Bond Road while she was young.

“Growing up we always had a small garden and I remember going with grandma to get milk, butter and ice cream from some place on Bond Road, so we were organic before we knew what that meant,” she said.

Adding to the layers of Kitsapness that run in her bloodline, her father, Richard Belmont served as the Suquamish Tribal chairman. The drawback to having a prominent father, she said, was that she got away with nothing as a child.

Now that her children are all grown and/or growing up, Lanning is able to pursue something she can call her own.

No stranger to the business world — she and her husband, Rick, are business partners in the Old Kingston Firehouse, and own the storefront in which Lil Sprouts is located, among other ventures — she wanted to open something Kingston needed. And she wanted to have some fun while she was at it.

“When we built our storefronts I was hoping a toy shop would come to town this summer,” she said. “Since no one was calling to lease any of my storefronts, I decided to take matters into my own hands.”

Lil Sprouts Toy Store

11252 NE State Highway 104

Kingston

(360) 297-2468

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Mondays

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