Grove City weather isn’t exactly kid-friendly. During harsh winters and dreary springs, children are cooped up indoors for so long that they start to twitch with cabin fever. They long for a fun activity to get them out of the house. Their parents long for the same thing.
Kris Noel, the owner of Kritter Kreations, understands those feelings perfectly.
“I have children of my own,” says Ms. Noel, “and I just started thinking that Grove City needed a fun place for people to bring their kids.” From that idea, Kritter Kreations was born.
The store specializes in customizable stuffed animals known as “Kritters.” Standing at 154 South Broad Street, its windows feature assortments of stuffed animals that are likely to leave any child staring longingly in awe. Once inside the shop, the child can choose from a vast selection of affordable Kritters, and then deck them out by choosing from an equally vast selection of accessories. The final result is a stuffed animal created by the child, complete with clothing and even a birth certificate. By that point, the Kritter is more than just an object; it’s a memory, an experience, and even a friend.
While the store’s stuffed animals are its main attraction, Ms. Noel is quick to stress that the experience of Kritter Kreations is best enjoyed with real friends, in addition to friendly stuffed animals. “The store is more than just a retailer,” she says. “It’s a place for families to come.”
To foster family activities, the store hosts a variety of events each month, including movie nights and board game nights, which any child can attend by registering in advance. The nights generally include kid-friendly activities such as crafts and snacks, and various packages are available should the child desire to take home their very own Kritter at the end of the event. This summer, Ms. Noel will be taking her show on the road, as she intends to host a booth at various local fairs to give even more kids the opportunity to experience the store’s events.
While Kritter Kreations is well-suited to hosting open events, Ms. Noel also takes pride in hosting a variety of slightly more exclusive affairs: birthday parties. The store is an ideal place for children to celebrate with their friends on their special day, and what could make that day more special than crafting a unique Kritter to take home? “I love seeing the look of joy on a kid’s face at the end of their birthday party,” says Ms. Noel.
And, ultimately, that is the purpose behind the store. “Kids see me around town and say to their parents, ‘There’s the Kritter lady,’” says Ms. Noel. “I love making them a littler happier.” Kritter Kreations does just that.
And in the process, Ms. Noel and her store make the rough winters and rainy weather of Grove City just a bit more kid-friendly.