Video by Emma Iannacone.
Science Toy Magic, a store located in Old Town Square, is breaking the barrier between science and magic to create a fun-filled experience great for any age.
Matt Hannifin opened the store in Dec. 2008 to showcase science-inspired magic toys. The store, now in its 8th year, has been home to toys not sold anywhere else in the world.
“A lot of these things are just plain fun, and it turns out that a lot of the toys I thought were cool as a kid happened to be science toys,” Hannifin said.
Hannifin recently returned from a national toy fair that took place in New York City on Feb. 14-16. While there, he acquired brand new toys, some of which are only available to buy in Fort Collins.
The self-balancing electric unicycle is a toy that was sold in Hannifin’s store before any other place in the country.
“The fact that we have a toy store the size of a closet and we were the first to sell those (toys) in the country, well, that’s the part that is not well known,” Hannifin said.
Hannifin is not only the manager of a successful toy shop — he also has many unknown talents. He speaks 10 languages, to some degree: Spanish, French, Swedish, Italian, Irish, some Mandarin, German, Hawaiian and Navajo. Recently, he spent time presenting in Irish to schools along the West Coast of Ireland.
In 2007, Hannifin was asked to present for the heads of NASA. Before he began his toy career, he taught science for a brief period of time at the Native American Preparatory School. Hannifin sells toys but also creates them — he handcrafted boomerangs in Austin, Texas, and Adelaide, Australia, starting in 1987.
Mike Spoon, a Science Toy Magic customer, has been frequenting the store for four years.
“This is a one of a kind store that you can go to and find that it’s stuff he researches with a specific criteria,” Spoon said. “He explains the science part of the toys to you in a fun, interactive way.”
Local magician Shane Williamson, known as the, “Hatter,” has been going to the shop for three years and still enjoys Hannifin’s science demonstrations.
“I come to this shop quite often,” Williamson said. “I love his little Science Toy Magic Shop.”
Hannifin wants students to know that they are able to go in to his store at any time to learn about the science behind the toys, not just to purchase them.
“You haven’t got anyone who can do what he does,” Spoon said.
Collegian Reporter Savannah Hoag can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sav_hoag.