Busy Bee owner Nerice Kendter with a selection of stuffed animals, many of which her store will carry.

by Tyller Moorer

Two Doylestown businesses – a toy store and an escape room – will open branches in Chestnut Hill this month. One of these, Busy Bee Toys, is scheduled to open at its new location, 8511 Germantown Ave., by the end of October.

Busy Bee owner Nerice Kendter said she was excited to open in Chestnut Hill.

“I heard that Chestnut Hill has a very similar vibe to Doylestown and got to walk around and take a look at the community and felt that it would make a good fit for my business model,” she said. “One thing that I was impressed about with Chestnut Hill was the amount of strolling that happens – people coming in and enjoying and window shopping.”

Kendter said she had the idea to start selling toys when she brought home toys for her son.

“At the time I had a little child, and I was bringing beautiful toys home for him, and then I decided I wanted to open my own toy store,” she said. “The model of the business is based on of a small chain of toy stores in Belgium.”

Kendter had contacted the company, which because it was so small had no interest in expanding to the United States. Instead, the store gave Kendter their model as well as a list of lines that they sold and told her to model her business on what they were doing.

She did just that, and Busy Bee in Doylestown was born. Thirteen years later, Kendter said her business is thriving, and a second location seemed like the right move to grow.

Kendter said Busy Bee is a family-friendly store in which toys are displayed for children to see and touch. There are even play areas where kids can give some toys a test run. She said the store carries a wide variety of toys, baby gifts, birthday party gifts, family-oriented games and more. She also noted that she offers free gift wrapping year round for birthday parties and for the holidays.

She said she wants the store to attract children.

“I want children to be able to come in with their pocket money and find something to buy,” Kendter said. “I’m hoping that the community there is something for everyone.”

While the opening date is still uncertain, the store will open in October – either in the middle of or at the end of the month. Busy Bee is also hiring. For more information, contact info@busybeetoys.net

Escape Room

For Doylestown Escape Room owners Heather and Jack Dugan, the assessment of Chestnut Hill and Doylestown was about the same as Kendter’s. It just felt like a good match.

“It is, very similar,” Heather said. “Not only the looks but the vibe. It is similar and we’ve been very successful in Doylestown.

The Chestnut Hill Escape Room, which will occupy space at the VFW building at 8217 Germantown Ave., will open its doors Oct. 27.

Jack Dugan opened the Doylestown business on Oct. 28, 2016. He had been thinking about expanding and was convinced by the recruitment efforts of the Chestnut Hill Business District.

“We’ve been in Doylestown for the past couple of years,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success there, and we were actually recruited by the Chestnut Hill Business District to expand into this neighborhood. Kathie Meadows brought us down here and helped us look at a couple of buildings. She taught us about the community a little bit, and we spent a little time down here. We decided it would be a great home for our business.”

The Duganses first had the idea to open an escape room after going on a family vacation down in Texas. Their kids had accompanied them on the trip, and they wanted something that the whole family could enjoy. They decided on an escape room.

Escape rooms are physical, role-playing games in which players are tasked with solving puzzles and deciphering clues to “escape” from a situation. Often, escape rooms have themes.

They were not at all familiar with escape rooms when they made the decision to go, but after they left, they were true believers. On the ride home they called a realtor and decided to open one in Doylestown.

The Chestnut Hill location will have different themed rooms than the Doylestown location. The first escape room that will be ready in time for opening day will be called Wizards of Greystone Abby. It is a mystical, magical adventure set in Victorian England. It will be a very family-oriented room; a room that the whole family can enjoy, yet challenging enough for experienced escapers, the Duganses said.

The other two escape rooms will open later in the year.

The Duganses said their escape room is different from others in that they are independent. They do not buy their escape rooms from anyone. They created the content entirely on their own.

“We try not to do something that is close by,” Heather said. “We do not want duplicates. We do design our own escape rooms and come up with our own themes. We do look around to make sure there is nothing close to what anyone has.”

The Chestnut Hill Escape Room will be open four days a week: Tuesday through Friday. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Booking for Chestnut Hill’s escape room is already live. For more information, go to chestnuthillescaperoom.com