We caught up with Jackie Schoenholtz, owner of Silly Willyz, where a day at work is all fun and games! Silly Willyz is a toy store located just across the street from Pewaukee Beach, in the Old Main Street Shops. The store offers the perfect mix of educational toys, novelty items, puzzles, games, books and arts and crafts. There is something fun for everyone.
You left your corporate job to open Silly Willyz in 2014. What persuaded you make that leap?
I worked for Trek and loved my job – I helped retailers run their bike stores. As I worked with the storeowners, I got the bug and I realized I really wanted my own store to run. I’ve always loved toys and I really am young at heart, so a toy store was the perfect fit for me. I also have two young daughters and leaving the corporate world allowed me to be around more for them. It was a win-win.
What are your most different and sought after items at the toy store?
Being an independent store we can sell whatever toys we like, so we focus on unique, simple items. Most toys that we sell don’t need a battery. I have customers who come in to shop with their kids and get transported back to their childhood. People love our classic toys, books, puzzles and board games.
How do you choose what to sell at Silly Willyz?
I pick out everything we sell in the store. I go to different trade shows, I talk with numerous toy reps, and my daughters have great insight as to what other kids are doing and what is going on in the toy world.
What’s your favorite part of owning a toy store?
Hands down it’s interacting with my customers. I know many by name and I’ve made so many friends through people coming into the store.
Why should people from out of town visit Silly Willyz?
It’s a great place to come in to play and have fun. We have an exceptional selection of gifts that you won’t find anyplace else, there’s something for everyone. The store changes from summer to winter, so it’s fun to come in and see totally different things these times of the year. There’s no other place like it!
I love it here, the people are so nice and genuine. And my family lives here, we are a part of the community. Being in Pewaukee is like getting a big hug.