Before I post photos from this assignment, I want to take a second to talk about how cool my network of friends is. People talk about the "Mizzou Mafia" all of the time, and I have to admit that as a student, I was skeptical of what the benefits of being an MU Journalism grad would be (besides my top-notch education, obviously). Let me tell ya – they have far exceeded what I imagined (granted, I would like to think that my friends are more talented and benevolent than your average grad). One of my good friends and mentors while I was in school, Timmy Huynh, is now a photo editor at the Wall Street Journal. Because he is a talented and benevolent dude, he called me up Tuesday and set me up with this assignment. Thanks Tech King Tim. You're a gem (;
Wednesday, I crossed the Missouri-Kansas border (a whopping 1.1 miles from my house) and drove down to Prairie Village, Kan. to check out The Learning Tree, an independently owned toy store. The owner, Jonny Girson, is the definition of cool. What started out as an educational toy store, now specializes in what Girson calls "good toys." They don't carry "hot items" or what's necessarily trendy, but rather toys that are meant to enhance, teach and be of substance. The customers I spoke with were all long-time patrons (10-12 years) and had nothing but praises to sing of how the store was run. Girson and his staff greet each person that walks through the door, ask about the child being shopped for and know the perfect toy(s) to suggest. I watched Girson spend almost an hour helping a customer find something for her husband with Parkinson's disease to play with to help with his coordination, which included a sponataneous game of cards. It's a cool place. Anyways, I'll stop rambling and let you see for yourself:
You can read the accompanying piece by Adam Janofsky here.
And here's a look at what ran on B5 yesterday (Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014):