Monday, January 30, 2012
Fun and games at “Marbles: The Brain Store.”
One of my new favorite stores is “Marbles: The Brain Store”. No this is not a blog that repeats my “Igor, I need a new brain” posting - http://johnstumor.blogspot.com/2012/01/igor-i-need-new-brain.html
Marbles is a “brick and mortar” store where you can walk in and, shock, actually try out something before you buy it. Unlike last holiday season’s experience where folks window-shopped at a Best Buy and then bought via Amazon, many of these brain games are unique to “Marbles”.
I like (and own and use) “ColorKu” which is a bunch of brightly colored (wooden) marbles that you can use to play Sudoku. There is a tactile friendliness to the marbles which I find both helpful and personal. It’s like the difference between playing chess online and playing chess with real game pieces.
The mind-body connection with the marbles also seems important. One of my early rehab exercises was playing solitaire. My therapist told me, however, not to play online and, instead, to use real cards for some sort of “mind-body” connection that I still don’t really understand. I also remember wrestling with three dimensional puzzle pieces that we used to build geometric shapes to boost my spatial relations abilities…and I may get sucked into buying something like that at the store, too.
That “tactile” thought is echoed by chief merchant and co-founder Scott Brown who said, in a recent Chicago Tribune article, that "There's more of a shift back to the small mom and pop shop where people again want that personal touch. We do not just want to be a toy store, but a brain health store, and it's a white-glove experience in that we are trying our very hardest to match each customer with products for them and their brain."
This makes sense to me. I bought my elderly mother a trial subscription to Lumosity over a year ago and she still hasn’t tried to use the link. I suspect, though, if I could lure her to a store in a nearby mall where she could try something out, she might actually buy and use something.
Haven’t seen a marbles store near you? As it turns out, Marbles is a Chicagoland-based company and the CEO, Lindsay Gaskins, is in a growth mode. According to the article, given “…swift sales at Marbles locations in Water Tower Place and Woodfield Mall, she is targeting 100 major malls in America.”
In case you're wondering, they have an online presence, too: http://www.marblesthebrainstore.com/?gclid=COvvxtOm-K0CFYe8KgodIkWXrA
And here’s a link to the Chicago tribune article: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-23/business/ct-biz-0123-executive-profile-gaskins-20120123_1_brain-store-lulu-locations