Howard Greenspan describes himself as a child at heart. That’s why he opened Giant Steps, a new interactive toy and baby store. You can turn the kids loose in play areas, such as a stage and a jungle playground, while you shop.
The store, on Kings Highway in Fairfield, “is designed 100 percent with the community in mind,” Greenspan said. “I wanted a place where parents and kids could go and have a good time.”
Although Giant Steps is his most recent endeavor, it is not his first. Greenspan, 38, also owns Gaming Etc., an interactive store in Stratford that caters to fans of Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more.
He started Gaming Etc. 10 years ago as an online retailer but it didn’t stay that way. “I wanted to do something different and fun. I thought to myself, ‘I buy all the stuff anyway, why not open up a store?” Greenspan said.
The success of that interactive model encouraged him to open Giant Steps. He was also inspired by a museum trip where he and his 5-year-old daughter got to make constellations.
The lifelong Fairfielder said he’s “always been an entrepreneur. When I was 11, I started selling. I’d go to parades and sell candy and popcorn.”
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania he worked in corporate marketing. During the ’90s Beanie Baby craze he developed a Beanie Baby tag protector for the Danbury Mint.
“That’s what launched me into the toy industry,” he said. “From there I started my own Website selling trading cards. From there, it went into games, toys, baby products, you name it, we had it.”
His business philosophy focuses on goodwill. People are welcome to explore or play in his interactive stores. And they don’t need to buy something.
“I want people to come in, play with the toys and have fun. If five out of 10 people that come in buy something, that’s good,” Greenspan said. “When the time comes to buy, I hope people think of me.”