Charleston Style and Design

FALL 2015

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140 CS D Christine Osborne and her staff take great care to build relationships with inventors like Rob Bertschy, who brought them the Swurfer in February of last year. Offering feedback on new products is a hallmark of Wonder Works' business ethos, and Osborne says it's a vital part of keeping the toy industry alive. "The community is very involved in developing toys whether they know it or not," she says. But an amazing toy selection is far from the only reason Wonder Works is so loved, not only in Charleston but across the nation. (In 2013, the store was Elizabeth Pandolf is a writer living in Charleston. STORE LOCATIONS St. Andrews Shopping Center 975 Savannah Highway Charleston, SC 29407 843-573-9300 Belle Hall Shopping Center 624 Long Point Road Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 843-849-6757 Great Hall at the City Market 188 Meeting St. Charleston, SC 29401 843-577-2422 Freshfelds Village 574 Freshfelds Drive Johns Island, SC 29455 843-768-4383 Shop online at named one of ASTRA's best toy retailers in the country.) Wonder Works also offers full-service birthday parties; Birthday Bins, a kind of kids' birthday registry; and classes, including the Create It, Make It, Take It series that teaches cog- nitive skills through a craft or science project. And behind it all is some- thing much bigger than toys. In addition to being a sought-after toy expert, Osborne is one of the most passionate and gener- ous business people you'll ever meet. At the heart of the busi- ness are events that celebrate the joy that toys bring and provide a platform for children to pursue their own passions. One example is the store's Elfstravaganza holiday event, to be held at the Mount Pleasant location on November 14. Thousands of children and families come to partake in this free, annual event that kicks off the holiday season. Wonder Works will have the hottest toys, holiday activities, treats and guest appearances from national toy companies as well as the event's beloved mascot, Elfe. The event raises money for local charities and offers children an opportunity to sell their own products, raise money for their own charities and even entertain the crowd. A similar idea is behind one of the company's current fundraising initiatives, Yes We Can Can. Children are invited to use an empty can to collect change from their friends, family or neighbors. When it's full, they bring it back to Wonder Works to be donated to fundraising efforts for the new MUSC Children's Hospital. "Children raised here have philanthropic hearts," Osborne says. "A dime at a time from ev- ery child? That's huge in terms of dollars. But more than that, they're learning about initia- tives, raising money, philanthro- py and entrepreneurship. This is what we're all about." 2

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