Bricks & Minifigs seduces Lego lovers of all ages – BizWest
LOVELAND – Walking through bricks and minifigs in Loveland is like stepping into a giant Lego design.
The walls are of primary colors; there are displays of Legos; and the ceiling is white turning black with randomly painted Lego bricks.
“The atmosphere is something that I created very intentionally,” said Rick Snyder, former engineer and owner of Bricks & Minifigs, 1449 Denver Ave., which opened in May 2018. “I wanted it to be a trip to the land of Lego. ”
Snyder, who lives in Fort Collins, set out to achieve the effect of a “fun toy store” that appeals to children, coupled with a feeling of nervousness to attract adults, so that they can feel themselves again. like children, he said.
Bricks & Minifigs is an authorized Lego distributor that sells new and used Lego sets, minifigs (mini Lego figures) and bricks, as well as Lego storage items and various Lego products. The store, which is open Monday through Saturday, does not manufacture custom Lego parts but will find the necessary non-Lego branded items to complete a display.
“We are a one-stop Lego store. People can get any Lego from us, ”Snyder said.
Legoes gained popularity, at least locally, when the COVID-19 pandemic sent Colorado residents into quarantine in March 2020. They had to stay home and needed something to do, finding Legos was answer. Historically, Legos were introduced to the United States in the early 1960s and regained their popularity in the late 1990s with the advent of Star Wars Lego sets.
“People love Legos because it’s something they can do at home,” Snyder said. “It’s gratifying to use these little blocks to create a design, a rocket, a house, a seaside, a spaceship – you can do it all with Legos.”
Legoes are ideal for those who like to follow directions and end up with something they can display or use to play with, Snyder said. Or for those who don’t, legos are a tool for creating unique designs or building something that can perform a task, he said.
Snyder appeals to both audiences with a 2,500 square foot store. It features a section with new and current Legos sets, a section for new and retired Legos sets, a minifig showcase, and a back party room for kids and adult birthdays and celebrations.
In any given month, Snyder runs four to 12 evenings and two more robotics classes using Lego Technic kits, a Legos product with rods, gears, and motors used to assemble robots. The skills can be taught in a school club, robotics class, or by following company-created programs in construction and basic programming.
Snyder wants children and adults who visit his store to feel free to share their creations; it features a “Show Us Your Creations” link on its website and Facebook page, encouraging Lego enthusiasts to post or send photos of their custom creations and final projects.
“By seeing what others are creating, Lego builders can come up with new ideas for creating their own designs,” Snyder said. “They can use these ideas to develop their designs and their abilities.”
Loveland’s Samantha Bergstrom likes to think of an idea and then figure out how to create it with Legos. She played with Legos as a child and renewed her interest in them in 2006 when a serious accident left her motionless for a year. She enjoys building displays for railway shows, shops and museums and creating buildings and cities with lots of detail and humor, she said.
“I have been a member of a Lego group for over 10 years and have always had to travel to other cities to do exhibitions. Rick had a special showcase built in his store, and I’m honored to be one of the small groups of people who are building his displays, ”said Bergstrom. “I like to make him proud of what we’re building. … The store is always clean and well organized, and there is always something new to discover.
The large presentation table is surrounded by plexiglass and features a rotating Lego scene, such as a cityscape, alien planet, or outdoor vacation or summer setting. Colorado Wyoming’s Lego user group, CoWLUG, an informal group of Lego enthusiasts who volunteer for exhibitions and public events, changes the display every two to three months with a new scene.
“They come up with some fun designs, building them into this display,” Snyder said. “Club members are advanced Lego builders.”
Snyder started playing with basic Lego blocks when he was eight or nine, but he was limited to rectangular pieces and a few objects like windows, doors and trees, he said.
“I remember being frustrated because it was difficult to create real world structures like houses,” Snyder said. “What I had was regular blocks. I couldn’t be very creative with them. And now the kids are getting these kits, and they’ve got parts for everything, plants; roof pieces; rectangular, square and round pieces; cones; all kinds of things that people can use to build something that looks like something you actually see because you can build it. You can find the part, even if it is made for something else.
Lego pieces come in every imaginable shape and color, as opposed to the original primary and secondary colors as well as black and white, Snyder said. Now, Lego pieces are stylish and well-proportioned and no longer look “lumpy”, he said.
Snyder played with Legos until he was around 12, then quit until seven years ago. He bought Legos for his eldest of three sons, who are now 19, 16 and 14, reinvigorating his old interest. Although they eventually lost interest, his continued.
“It’s part of the spirit of engineering. (For) a lot of engineers, also architects and people who like to build things, Lego is a good medium that you can use to build something, ”Snyder said.
Snyder opened Bricks & Minifigs after working for 25 years as a research and development engineer for Hewlett-Packard and through his rebranding to Agilent Technologies and eventually Broadcom Inc. He started at the Loveland site in 1993 , then moved to Fort Collins two years later and stayed there until his layoff in 2017. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Colorado State University in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
“I wanted to do something that I would enjoy doing and it would be fun for me to do it. Owning a Lego store pretty much fits that idea, ”Snyder said. “You can play with toys all day.”
Snyder enjoys helping kids find something they can enjoy doing that is also educational, he said.
“I also love helping adults find something that they can spend their time on that is not addictive, that is not dangerous, it’s more interesting than putting together a puzzle,” Snyder said. “I love helping adults and kids find something that is a fun hobby that they can do.”
Regular Customer Gavin Bailey, a Lego builder from a young age, has been taking his family to the store for over three years and has been a loyal customer ever since.
“It’s hard to find a place in the midst of today’s aggressive competitiveness for your money and the time to just play and enjoy, and that’s what Bricks & Minifigs offers,” Bailey said. “There are shelves, with boxes, of course. But there are open shelves with models built to experiment with. There are gigantic bins to go through to find just the “one” piece. There are figures to build and instruction manuals to walk through. … Rick and his staff have a great relationship with their community and their customers and are more than willing to include you as well.
Snyder doesn’t build as much with Legos as he would like, spending most of his time running his store. But he still gets involved in some ways by deciding where to locate the products, helping to complete incomplete sets for customers, or breaking down the sets to put the bricks up for sale at the bulk table, where there are Lego bricks. in bulk.
“I love seeing the different things people build with Legos,” Snyder said. “I love to see creativity. When I see a unique idea, I try to build it myself when I have the time. ”