A mother/daughter team with roots in education and environmentalism are the masterminds behind Marvin’s Toy Store in Crystal Lake.

“Inspired by a want for toys that put the child at the center of play and imagination, we sought to build a business that respected the serious work of childhood,” says Lori McConville, who owns the business with daughter Katelyn. “To select and curate the products for our store, we created nine guiding principles for the selection of products, looking for companies that express social and environmental justice and practice an ethic of care in their governance.”

The family puts those values to practice in its company as well, practicing flexible scheduling, respectful wages, using less, reusing and recycling. They also subscribe to wind-powered electricity, encourage a walking community, and participate in green-friendly events such as Earth Day and the Green Living Expo at McHenry County College.

Lori, a former educator with experience in child development, is a life-long environmental advocate and current president of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. Katelyn, with experience in social work and social media, is a young mom wanting a healthy world for her children.

Marvin’s carries toys, games, gifts and books for children of all ages, and the McConvilles offer specific knowledge about their products and the companies that produce them, as well as complimentary gift wrapping and friendly helpful customer service.

The mother/daughter team, which will soon ring in Marvin’s 7th holiday season, will be joined by John, husband and father, as Marvin’s plans to open a second independent location at110 Station St. in downtown Barrington in November. Marvin's also has a third place to visit, sharing space at Read Between the Lynes on the Woodstock square.

“We are future friendly, striving for success by putting people first,” McConville says. “Our goal is to contribute to the healthy development of children and their families by choosing products that are good for the earth and the mind. As Katelyn says, "We strive for play with a hidden agenda to learn."

Knowledge, honesty and trustworthiness – a clear business direction that respects people and the earth, is Marvin’s Toy Store’s secret to success.

“Contribute and work knowing we are a part of something bigger,” she says. “Our actions will ripple out into the world, so we make decisions knowing they have consequences. We want our decisions to make a positive impact on today and tomorrow, all the while knowing the kids are having fun.

“The Fox River Valley is a caring, family-centered community, with respect for its beautiful and unique natural resources,” McConville says. “In the downtown, we work together and enjoy the benefits of having a variety of independent shops and unique places to visit, and that’s great for the locals and visitors alike. We work hard to be your neighborhood toy store, a place where everyone feels comfortable, excited to visit, and have fun! Being named a ‘Best of the Fox’ means that that message is getting out there. We are grateful for the community’s support, because we know we couldn’t enjoy our little store without sharing it with the community.”

Marvin’s Toy Store

64 A N. Williams St., Downtown Crystal Lake



Mon. Tues. Wed. Fri. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Thurs. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.