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Go inside Fort Worth toy store Happy Lark’s new home

By Jaidyn HaysApril 3, 2024No Comments

Got inside Fort Worth toy store Happy Lark’s new home

By Rachael Lindley
Photos by Olaf Growald

The Fort Worth toy store Happy Lark, newly moved to Camp Bowie Boulevard, specializes in unimpeded play

You may have noticed that the Camp Bowie Boulevard bricks have welcomed a new retailer, The Happy Lark.

The locally owned toy store moved in mid-January to a renovated historic house they purchased at 5015 El Campo Ave. Caitlin DeVille and Suzanne Fluke — sisters — founded the company in 2015 in rented space in southwest Fort Worth. They wanted to own their space, rather than leasing it, and they found their new space on Camp Bowie after a long search.

“You’re going to have a better experience here than you would at a big box store,” Fluke said. “We have demos where you can try most toys out. Kids and adults love that. But what really sets us apart is our customer service. Everyone that works here is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate. We’ve curated the store for customers to come in and pick anything out and you can feel confident your child will love it.”
Transforming the 1920s El Campo bungalow was a labor of love that took roughly a year to complete.

Walking into the cozy old house brings an immediate feeling of joy. Not only are customers immediately greeted by heaps, racks, shelves and tables of colorful toys and books, but the space simply feels special. The green paint covering the walls feels fresh and playful. Even the restroom has delightful Fort Worth-themed wallpaper, and the covered front porch has chalk at the ready.

“It’s important to us that we carry toys that help make your home a peaceful, enjoyable place, that are not only developmentally appropriate for your kids but that you and your children can enjoy together,” Fluke said.

Happy Lark also sells UPPABaby car seats and strollers. Curating the shop is of the utmost importance to the sisters. DeVille and Fluke always attend markets together to ensure that the inventory is up to their requirements.

The COVID Effect
When Fluke and DeVille decided to open Happy Lark, they wanted it to be a one-of-a-kind toy store Fort Worth hadn’t seen. DeVille is a pediatric physical therapist and Fluke is a former high school teacher. Besides being mothers — DeVille has one child and Fluke has three — the two share a mutual interest in children and developmentally appropriate toys. A year after they decided to start the business, they opened Happy Lark with an adjoined play space.

“I was new to Fort Worth, pregnant, and had a toddler,” Fluke said. “I wasn’t sure how to get plugged into the community. So, I started a business.”

When COVID erupted, Happy Lark was forced to close the play space and the sisters feared they wouldn’t be able to stay afloat. But the store had a well-established retail website. DeVille and Fluke went from having people milling about their store all day to fulfilling curbside pick-up orders and shipping their toys across the country, making COVID an unexpected, but productive, shift in their business.

What’s New?
When DeVille and Fluke found the storefront on El Campo, they felt the building was too large. The sisters teamed with friend and fellow entrepreneur and mother-of-three Lindsay Jones of The Play Space Fort Worth.
The trio owns the building with separate, respective businesses.

Jones opened The Play Pocket, an event space for children located inside Happy Lark. The Play Pocket is an open and airy room complete with a fenced outdoor area. Guests can reserve The Play Pocket for weekend birthday parties for three hours at a time — allowing two hours for the party, 30 minutes for set up, and 30 for striking— and during the week for $40 an hour. The weekend rental costs $250. This model makes the space ideal for birthday parties, playdates, school parties, nanny shares or even parenting courses.

“We feel that having The Play Pocket located in Happy Lark is a mutually beneficial relationship,” Jones said. “We’re excited to be working together in this way. I have always had Happy Lark toys in my Play Space locations, and now I have them in the event space as well. Our businesses truly support each other.”

“We’re excited to finally be a part of the Camp Bowie community,“ Fluke said. “There is a real vibrance to this part of town. We can’t wait to meet other business owners and families that live and work in this area. We’re also thrilled to welcome our customers that have been with us for years to the new space. What we do is so fun, and we are just thankful to sell toys that kids and parents love.”

THE DETAILS

The Happy Lark

5015 El Campo Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76107

thehappylark.com