Legos resale store opening in Algonquin; ‘passion project’ for McHenry family

Thousands of Lego kits, pieces and miniature figures fill up the shelves at the new Bricks and Minifigs store in Algonquin.

Owning the reseller shop has been a dream for years for McHenry-based couple Julie and Todd Krater.

Their store, at 212 Eastgate Court, sells new, used and retired kits and thousands of loose bricks and “mini figs,” or miniature figures. The national franchise business has more than 100 stores in the United States and Canada, with Algonquin being the only one in McHenry County. The next nearest locations are in Wheaton and Schaumburg.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting event of Bricks and Minifigs will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 29. A giant inflatable mini figure outside and radio station Star 105.5 broadcasting live will accompany the celebration, Julie Krater said.

“Minifigs” parts fill boxes at the new Bricks and Minifigs store opening in Algonquin. Gregory Shaver/Shaw Media

The store’s bargaining and recycling aspects allow anyone to come into the store to trade or sell their Lego items for store credit or cash. Before their store opens, the Kraters already have a strong collection from their connections with nearby collectors. They want to focus on retired sets and pieces that are harder to find.

“We’ve had some great finds in the last couple of weeks,” Julie Krater said.

Their collection includes plenty of fan favorites like “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park” sets and pieces. Also in the mix are rare sets like the Taj Mahal, Colosseum and Maersk Train that typically sell for more than $450 online. The Maersk Train is Todd Krater’s favorite find so far.

“It’s one of those really nice sets that’s very in demand and it’s actually new-in-box which is even more exciting,” Todd Krater said.

Todd Krater’s mom first got his family into Legos, a passion that now has spread to multiple generations as his kids have become fans. His favorite memories are playing with the original castle series as a kid, he said.

“She kept all of their Legos the whole time,” Julie Krater said. “She even went so far as to laminate the instructions. Long before there was an internet you actually had to keep those instructions to know how to put things together.”

His childhood collection stays in a room in their home dedicated to their collection that “looks like a museum,” Julie Krater said. Todd Krater has no plans of ever selling or trading his pieces.

“I have my own collection and it stays there,” Todd Krater said. “My collection is my collection.”

Todd Krater said his passion for Legos sparked again while collecting and playing with his children. Now in their teens, both of the couple’s sons are working at the store and avid fans of Legos. Liam Krater, 19, will be a store manager. He said he is excited to see the store come to life since his parents have been wanting to open it for so long.

Lego kits are on display at the new Bricks and Minifigs store opening in Algonquin. Gregory Shaver/Shaw Media

The Kraters plan on hosting seasonal events like Star Wars Day and treasure hunts. The store also has a party room that people can rent out for private gatherings where they can create their own designs and miniature figures with the thousands of pieces in the store’s inventory.

“We definitely want kids to come there and have a great time enjoying their birthday there and playing with all the Legos,” Julie Krater said.

The store is “a total passion project” for Todd with the Legos and Julie with the business side of things, he said.

He hopes the store will inspire people to bring their old Lego sets when they are done with them and keep the distribution of Legos alive in the community.

“So much of it ends up in the garbage,” he said. “This way, we can reuse and recycle essentially. Repurpose it and do all sorts of things with it and hopefully make another generation happy.”

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