Lidia Voelker's two young sons gave her the idea for her new business opening in Libertyville.
Voelker is launching C&A Robot Factory at 326 Peterson Road. The business focuses on education through play and features a LEGO play area for young children and after school programs and classes for older children. The business, expected to open Saturday, Feb. 5, also will offer a place to hold birthday parties.
Voelker, a single mom from Libertyville, was looking to find a job. The flexible schedule she was looking for was tough to find, so she looked into opening her own business.
She considered the economy and realized consumers are cutting back in nearly all areas. However, based on her own experiences, she believes that despite the poor economy, many parents continue to spend money on their children. "The only place I spend money is on my kids," Voelker said.
She asked her sons, Austin, 3, and Christian, 9, what they like to do most and if they could go to a fun store, what would it have. Their response was Legos.
Voelker developed a business plan for C&A Robot Factory, using her children's initials in the name of the business.
The play area at the shop features LEGO tables, trains and miniature LEGOville figures.
"I only carry LEGO," said Voelker, 42. The cost for unlimited play time is $5 per child.
Birthday parties with a variety of themes also are planned. Star Wars, LEGOville and Ninjago are included in the mix. An hour and a half party for 15 children would cost $260.
An array of classes are planned for older children. Participants, ages 7 and older, have the opportunity to build LEGO motorized, programmable robots and machines.
The easier classes are based on LEGO Robotics programs. For example, kids can build birds that they program with sounds and movement. At the end of the six- or 12-week classes, participants play games or have a competition with the robot they have built. They then return the LEGO parts to the store.
Older children can participate in the more advanced and complicated LEGO Mindstorm robotic programs.
Voelker, who immigrated from Poland when she was 19, believes the business provides a wonderful opportunity for children to learn through play.
A grand opening celebration takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Regular business hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday. Friday nights and Saturdays are available for private parties only.
For more information, check out carobotfactory.com.
Kim Mikus covers local business. She welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.