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Entrepreneur to open Lego-centric toy store at Uptown Janesville

JANESVILLE—Any time you want, Jonathan Kahn will show you his 3,200-piece Lamborghini model car made of Legos—even if he won’t let you pretend to rev up the vehicle on the floor like it’s a gigantic Matchbox car.

Otherwise, Kahn and his family want you to feel free to play with Legos. A lot.

In fact, that’s the whole point of Kahn’s soon-to-open toy store at Uptown Janesville. In November, Kahn plans to unveil Letgo N Play, a new, Lego-focused toy store at the mall.

Kahn’s new store won’t be the only retailer in Janesville that sells Legos, those ubiquitous, plastic building block sets that re-create miniature, snap-together versions of just about anything under the sun.

But Letgo N Play will likely be the only toy seller in town where people can hang out in the shop and put together Lego sets. When it opens, Kahn plans to offer in-store learning workshops to allow young children to learn how to build with Legos.

Anthony Wahl 

Elizabeth Kahn touches up some spots with paint while preparing the space at Uptown Janesville that will become Letgo N Play, a new, Lego-focused toy store coming to Uptown Janesville. The store is scheduled to open in early November.

Kahn’s love for Lego building has been lifelong, but the toy sets have captivated his whole family. Kahn; his spouse, Elizabeth Kahn; and their five children often spend Friday and Saturday nights building complex Lego sets together.

Right now, the family is building a 3,800-piece remote-controlled bulldozer with the bricks.

Kahn said he and Elizabeth recently visited a Lego store at the Mall of America while on a trip to Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The store, of course, sold Legos, but it also had special tables that allowed people to sit and build Lego sets in the store.

On the way home, he said, he and Elizabeth started to build an idea to bring something similar to Janesville.

“We were up there for a Packers game, and on our way back home, we ended up at the Lego Store and spent a couple of hundred dollars. We thought, ‘You know, there’s nothing like that around Janesville. You either have got to go to Chicago or Milwaukee.’ In fact, ever since we lost Toys R Us in Janesville there’s been no true toy store here,” Kahn said.

The store when it opens would be located on the northern end of the mall’s concourse, near Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Books-A-Million store. Kahn said he plans to stock Letgo N Play with other types of toys, but its specialty will be Lego sets of all sizes and all types.

Kahn, who runs a local pest control service, said he thinks Uptown Janesville could be poised for an upswing even though the property has struggled to fill storefront vacancies coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kahn thinks the mall’s prospects for a proposed ice arena and convention center at the former Sears space mean that brighter days—and more foot traffic—lay ahead for the city’s main indoor shopping mall property.

“It might be a good idea and the perfect time to get into the mall, out front of big redevelopment plans like that.” Kahn said. “We thought bringing the community something a little fun and different at the mall would be a good thing. It’s one thing that’s really missing for families that come to the mall—toys.”

Kahn said he expects to hire staff at Letgo N Play that will enjoy talking Legos with both children and adults. He said weekend Lego workshops at first will cater to younger children, but he expects to see adult customers who want to sit down in the shop and build with Legos, too.

“We’ll just sit down sit at a table and then build things. Kids always have questions, we’ll have staff on site to help them piece it all together. Then they can take the set home with them. It’s as much building a place where kids can play and learn as it is building a store,” Kahn said.

Anthony Wahl 

Twin brothers Landon, back, and Gavin Kahn play while their parents, Jonathan and Elizabeth Kahn, prepare their new, Lego-focused toy store at Uptown Janesville.