The 179m2 Sandton City store is the first LEGO Certified Store on the African continent, with similar stores found in 20 other countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, Middle East and North America. The Great Yellow Brick Co will open additional certified stores throughout South Africa in the future, creating up to 20 new jobs per store.
The Great Yellow Brick Co, founded by Robert Greenstein, Hayley Greenstein and Greg Bergh, will also be transferring the experience of a LEGO Certified Store into the online world, offering online shoppers in South Africa access to the most extensive LEGO range available in the region.
While LEGO products are available at franchise and independent toy retailers elsewhere in South Africa, The Great Yellow Brick Co is the first LEGO Certified Store in the country, signalling the Danish company’s recognition that South Africa is ready for a premium toy experience in an exclusively branded retail outlet.
LEGO Certified Stores are designed by The LEGO Group, and adhere to store fit-out and experience guidelines stipulated by the Group to maintain its focus on playfulness and creative experiences, rather than on conventional retail principles. Created as experiential playgrounds for LEGO fans old and new, certified stores offer unique features not seen in independent retailers.
“Sandton City is the perfect location for this flagship store,” says Jonathan Sinden, Chief Operating Officer of Sandton City’s co-owners, Liberty Two Degrees. “With the recent launch of Sandton City’s Fun District, a level dedicated to family entertainment, the introduction of a LEGO Store enhances the centre’s offering for children.
“Sandton City’s evolving tenant mix is in line with the global trends of premium international retail centres, and a LEGO® Certified Store aligns well with Liberty Two Degrees’ strategy of bringing global experiences to its existing clients, and to South Africa alike.”
The playful and personal retail environment aligns well with 2018 retail trends, which include product and experience personalisation, augmented reality, and the popularity of carefully curated product ranges – all of which are key elements of a LEGO Certified Store. Importantly, while many adult fans of LEGO sets in particular have purchased their limited editions online, the assortment will be even bigger than the current LEGO offering in South Africa as they can now buy them directly from a certified local supplier.
Says Robert Greenstein, “I’ve always loved LEGO products, so I approached the company in 2014 to open a store similar to what I’d seen abroad, but at the time the brand felt that the local market wasn’t ready for a certified store in South Africa. However, The LEGO Group firmly believes in relationships, and we kept in touch until the time was right to explore the idea further. In 2016, we were given another opportunity to pitch for the contract.”
Kristian Imhof, Country Manager for The LEGO Group in South Africa, commented: “South Africans have had a decades-long love for LEGO sets and products, from children who learn the basics of construction, fine-motor skills or the sheer possibilities of the imagination, to adults who will go to extraordinary lengths to complete their themed collections. We are excited that this dedicated store will give fans old and new the opportunity to continue building their LEGO world.”
The Great Yellow Brick Co will be located in a stretch of the mall that is home to several experiential stores, near the Food Court and the mall’s revamped cinema complex.