601 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA
(434) 295-4797
Shenanigans a History

When Kai Rady was a little girl growing up in a small New England town, birthday party invitations always prompted a trip to the neighborhood toy shop. The store was filled with the scent of baby dolls, the lights and sounds of shiny red fire trucks and a wall of fuzzy stuffed animals that looked almost real. It was a magical place for children. There, Kai could always find a perfect gift for her special friends and, of course, add a few irresistible things to her own wish list. Parents in the town loved the toy shop, too. They enjoyed the care with which the toys were chosen, and they were pleased with the services the shopkeeper offered.

In 1974 when Kai was a grown-up with babies of her own she and her family moved to Charlottesville, Virginia. Kai was very happy because Charlottesville is a beautiful town with wonderful things to see and do. But, alas, there was no toy store – big or small.

Kai thought this was a great misfortune for the local children.

Kai and son by the sign. The old store on Ivy Road.
The original store location on Ivy Road, 1974.

And so Kai set about to create a magical toy shop for Charlottesville’s families. At the very beginning the store was right in the little house where Kai and her family lived. Kai named the store Shenanigans which is a word her Irish mother often used to describe children’s mischievous behavior.

Stocked shelves.
Stocked shelves, 1974.

Families from near and far welcomed the little shop and the shop grew until it was too big for the little house. Everyone worried that Shenanigans would outgrow its magical feeling, but there was no need to worry. The magic of a toy store comes from the imaginations of the children who visit.

Kids play in Shenaigans' sandbox.
Kids play in Shenanigans' sandbox, 1977.

Many of the children who shopped at the little house when they were small are now moms and dads. And so, Kai and her wonderful helpers playfully welcome another generation of children to explore and enjoy the magic of Shenanigans, Charlottesville’s very first neighborhood toy store.

Today Shenanigans is still Charlottesville’s favorite neighborhood toy store. We are proud to offer a hand picked selection of toys, children’s books, games, puzzles, dolls and stuffed animals. We offer only the very best from the most creative and responsible children’s importers, manufacturers and publishers in the world today.
Please enjoy a visit to our store.