Best children's toy store (Inside Chittenden County)
Those who believe toy shopping should be a tactile experience that involves more than typing on a keyboard and clicking a mouse should thank Buttered Noodles owner Alan Levi for bucking trends. He turned mostly e-commerce company KidSurplus into a brick-and-mortar Williston destination with some 3000 items, from sunscreen to rain boots. Activities such as story time and “Music With Mr. Chris” increase the “stickiness” or “hang-time” factor for customers, who linger for many minutes and come in multiple times per week.
As for that name? It was the Levi kids’ (now 28 and 29) favorite food. Though some customers were initially shocked to discover a kids’ store instead of a pasta eatery at lunchtime, Buttered Noodles generally whets shopping appetites instead.
SEVEN DAYS: Do you really serve buttered noodles?
ALAN LEVI: We serve buttered noodles on character days, such as when Froggy or Curious George comes to the store. Then four or five of us whip up 50 to 100 pounds of buttered noodles, with real butter, and we serve it all day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.