Disappointment sparks a booming business After getting a really bad subscription box as a kid, Glenview's Parker Krex started his own company, Brick Loot, 6 years ago. Now he's sending out a better one with genuine Lego components.
When Parker Krex of Glenview was 9 years old, he received a disappointing toy subscription box that contained a Captain America air freshener, a pair of socks and a DVD.
But that disappointment proved to be the genesis for an idea to sell subscription boxes containing Legos, and Krex, with the help of his parents, Erin and Steve, started Brick Loot, a business that now sells thousands of units per month.
Working from their basement, they shipped 500 boxes their first year.
Six years later, Brick Loot, now in Deerfield, occupies a space in an office park that features a 10,000-square foot warehouse, a small retail store, and a 4,000-piece Minifigure museum. In six years, the business has generated $10 million in sales, Erin said.
While processing his initial disappointment, Parker, thought, "I think they should be brick buildings similar to a Lego building toy box," he said. "Somebody should do that, and then I realized, 'why don't I just do that?'"
Parker presented his idea to his parents, they put up the money to help him start the business, and later that year they shipped out their first box, Parker said.
Each month, for around $25, subscribers receive a blue and white cardboard box that contains genuine Lego components as well as custom bricks, Minifigures and swag. Parker said 40% of Brick Loot customers are adults.
"It's stuff you can't go out and buy anywhere else, it's unique," Erin said. "It's all exclusive to Brick Loot, so all of our custom kits, all of the stuff that goes in there, they can't just go to any toy store and purchase."
The COVID-19 pandemic has somewhat affected sales, and the retail store and museum are closed, but curbside pickup is available. It has been harder to get employees, of which there are eight, he said.
"Since we're on online business, it hasn't hurt us too much because more people are going online anyway," Parker said.
Now 16 and a junior at Glenbrook South High School, Parker said he has been playing with Legos for as long as he can remember. His primary Lego interests are superheroes and Star Wars, and Lego Creator sets, though he said he builds "everything."
Parker will be attending college in two years, and Brick Loot will continue as long as he is involved.
"He's the brains, we just make it happen," Erin said. "He knows what customers want."