My name is Miriam and I am an independent toy retailer with 15 years management experience in a global leader in the building blocks industry.
My mission as an independent entrepreneur is to revive the good old toy shop, because I am convinced that children should not have their first and most important shopping experience in impersonal department stores or drugstores. This is how STEINARIUM was born in 2019, a specialist shop for all kinds of building blocks.
The STEINARIUM is popular not only with parents, grandparents and children from the city, but also with guests from other federal states and even from abroad, who come to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the STEINARIUM.
The STEINARIUM also has a social mission, and together with my colleague David we cater for people with special needs, for example by offering guided tours for blind children or special opening hours for children and adults on the autistic spectrum. We are also happy to offer work experience to young people who are still finding their way in our world. These are just some of the reasons why STEINARIUM is much more than just a specialised toy shop.
My company was founded four months before the Corona pandemic, which unfortunately led to an extreme drop in sales. As a result, it was no longer possible to keep to the financial plan that had been drawn up beforehand. In order to cope with the numerous legal challenges during the crisis, I decided to move to a larger shop in October 2020.
In addition, the move at that time was also about greater visibility. The STEINARIUM had previously been too low in the residential area.
In the middle of the pandemic, the move was a big financial risk, but a very good decision that I was able to make thanks to a KFW loan. In the few months that my shop was allowed to open under strict conditions, it became clear how important it has become as an anchor point and haven of peace for children and adults in the crisis.
Just as adults like to relax in a café or go shopping, children are drawn to the STEINARIUM. Here they can practise their shopping skills by buying individual bricks for a few cents, or just browse, build for free at one of the play tables and relax.
Now it turns out that just across the street from my shop, in the heart of Jena’s ladies‘ quarter, a major construction project is about to start. To be more precise, it is the „SolarQuartier“, which is now known beyond the region, and which will turn the immediate vicinity into a noisy and dirty construction site for several years. While this project will bring new homes, progress and development to the area, it will also create a dangerous and noisy environment for families and children. I also know from experience that the demolition and subsequent rebuilding will regularly leave stubborn fine dust on all toys that cannot be properly removed. So the STEINARIUM will either have to close or move. As the STEINARIUM has developed from a small insider tip to an institution in Thuringia in a very short time, as the many positive reviews on Google Maps show, a closure would be a bitter loss for the region.
Despite all the adversity caused by the Corona crisis and the subsequent cost explosion due to the political and economic situation, I have managed, through discipline and thrift, not only to service the current loan for the move from 2020, but also to continue to employ my valuable staff, so giving up is now out of the question for me. The STEINARIUM must stay!
However, moving again would mean another loan, which would be too much of a financial burden for me at the moment, and would also take too long to process and approve. As I surprisingly have the possibility to get a new shop space in the city centre of Jena as a follow-on tenant on 1 July 2023 without any complications, time is an additional factor. That is why I am asking for your support!
Your donations are needed to cover the following costs
- Moving costs
- Shelves, displays and gondolas
- Double rent for 1-2 months
- Renovation of the old and new premises
If all goes according to plan, the new premises in the centre of Jena will open its doors in July 2023. If we are not able to move into the shop we want, we will still use your donations to move to the city centre. It will be a different shop. It is clear that we cannot stay in the current location.
I would be happy if I could convince you of my intentions and send you my best regards from Jena!
Yours sincerely, Miriam