To meet Christine Johnson of Miracle Mile Toys is to sense the kind of warm enthusiasm and commitment to community that is enriching the burgeoning neighborhood. Her cheerful Wilshire Boulevard shop has become a popular destination for families, walkers and cyclists.
Originally from the East Coast, Johnson grew up in Maryland and Massachusetts before moving to Los Angeles 11 years ago. She initially lived in an apartment in Beverly Hills, but soon moved to Ridgeley Dr. She and her three children now reside in Koreatown, but her loyalty to Miracle Mile remains.
“When we first moved to the area, it really was an up and coming neighborhood — lots of elderly people in a diverse community,” said Johnson. “We noticed though, that every house on our street that sold, sold to a young family. There were suddenly many more parents and children walking around the streets.
“At the time, there were lots of the same types of businesses nearby and I realized we needed something different,” she said. “I thought, what would be more perfect in a growing neighborhood, with lots of families, than a toy store?”
In the four years since Johnson opened Miracle Mile Toys, its reputation for quality toys, free gift wrapping and local delivery has helped to cultivate a devoted following. The lounge, in the rear of the store, serves as a comfortable gathering place for parents to relax and connect with neighbors.
“The customers are special to our neighborhood and so are the products,” said Johnson. “We have toys you can find anywhere, but also some very unique things. I’m committed to carrying made-in-the-USA toys and also new brands, brands that are Kickstarter projects and those that are special to our community — dolls with different skin colors and mixed backgrounds.”
Since opening her shop, Johnson has regarded the building of the nearby Metro Purple Line subway station as more of a positive development than an imposition, “I knew the Metro was coming when I came, but construction hadn’t started yet. Things are a lot more chaotic, and parking is more difficult at the moment, but I’m planning to be here for a long time, and Metro is going to make a big difference in the neighborhood,” she said.
In the meantime, besides running Miracle Mile Toys, Johnson will soon be opening a puppet, marionette and toy boutique called the Hoop-Dee-Doo Shop at Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. 1st St.
Learn more about Miracle Mile Toys at miraclemiletoys.com.
By Marina Muhlfriedel