Lindsay Perrelli has made it her mission to ensure that every kid, from toddlers through age 6, who visits The Happy Journey, the children’s store she’s opening at 73 Charles St., will find something that appeals to them.
“I have hand-selected every item in the store and take care to deeply learn about the history of each unique brand,” she said. “My focus is quality. I’d like to think there’s something for everyone – ranging from tiny trinkets to larger toy items, adorable stuffed animals, games and books.”
Perrelli, a soon-to-be 28-year-old Pinckney Street resident who originally hails from Connecticut, relocated to Boston after earning a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Ithaca College in Upstate New York to pursue a master’s in Elementary and Special Education at what was then-Wheelock College. Upon earning her post-graduate degree in 2017, she spent two years as the lead teacher at Boston Children’s Hospital, educating children ranging in age from 3 to high school students who were too sick to learn in a traditional classroom. Most recently, she worked as a “pod teacher” for first-grade students during the pandemic.
As an educator, Perrelli wants The Happy Journey to reflect her love of teaching, so a whole selection of the approximately 700-square-foot retail space will be devoted exclusively to educational games hand-selected by her.
“I want customers to be able to ask me for suggestions and advice relating to education,” she said. “I am a store-owner now, but will always be a teacher.”
A room at the rear of the store will accommodate what Perrelli describes as “a child’s play and learning oasis,” replete with a magnetic wall, two coloring stations, and a fairy-lit play tent, where, she said, “kids can freely go in and read or play.”
The Happy Journey will sell only the highest-quality toys hand-picked by Perrelli, which, she said, can’t be found in an ordinary toy store.
“I did a lot of research and didn’t just want to sell general toys so I took the time to find the highest-quality toys because I want people to know they’ll find something of value when they come in,” she said. “All of the toys in the store are made of quality wood, and I have some amazing European wooden toys that I am so excited to share with the kids.”
Perrelli has also designed “Mini Minds,” sensory kits for the store, which, she said, “promote imaginative play, calms and engages children, and enhances fine motor development.” She spent more than a year working on the kits, she said, and personally selecting every item that goes into them.
Besides being a teacher and now a small business owner, Perrelli is also the author of a recently published children’s book, also called “The Happy Journey,” available online via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. “The Happy Journey” book will be for sale at the store, and Perrelli hopes that when customers see it there they’ll readily make the connection between the two.
Perrelli has also forged a partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital and intends to donate proceeds from certain items for sale at The Happy Journey to the hospital as her way of giving back to the organization that gave her a start in teaching. “I’m really excited about this, and it’s going to be a really big part of the store,” Perrelli said of this partnership. “I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity to give back to those that gave me so much and inspired me to realize where happiness comes from, and I hope that I can continue to do this for a while.”