CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Tucked away on 3216 Silsby Road in Cleveland Height’s Cedar-Lee sits what was once, decades ago, a Cleveland Height’s firehouse.
But now, inside the building, there’s a shop out of any kid’s wildest dreams: S’il Vous Play. The store is the ultimate dream for owners Mariah and Wesley Roj.
“We just pay really close attention to everything we bring in the store. There’s something for everyone,” said Mariah Roj. “We thought that Cleveland really needed something like this.”
In 2013, Mariah and Wesley Roj went on their first ‘baby moon’ vacation overseas. They walked into a toy shop that had unique and meaningful toys.
“We saw toys that we’d never seen before. We saw brands we never heard of. We were just filled with this sense of wonder, like if we were a child again,” she said.
It sparked a fantasy of a future for the, at the time, a registered nurse and college professor.
“We thought ‘Oh my gosh, we need to do this someday,’’ she said.
It wasn’t until the pandemic hit, seven years and three kids later, that the ‘someday’ became ‘today.’
“A lot of the local toy shops started to close and we noticed a real need in the community,” she said.
“Nothing helps you think about how kids spend their time, and with what stuff, like being in the house with them for four or five months,” said Wesley Roj.
Last year, the last tenants of the firehouse left and the upstairs space and a small spot downstairs were up for lease.
“The tenant next door was going to be opening a preschool and we thought ‘Oh my gosh, how perfect just to have this safe space for families to come and play,” said Mariah Roj.
All of the toys stocked on the shelves are ones that are meant to spark imagination. They’re toys that are ethically made, sustainable, and ones that you can’t find in big box stores, many are made right here in Ohio.
“A lot of our toys are wooden. They can be recycled and can be passed down to future generations,” she said.
The couple said there is little to no branding on the products.
“Toys that have more than one purpose. They can be compounded. A lot of the toys in the big box stores have an end game and then once they achieve that they get sick of that toy,” said Wesley Roj.
It’s a selling point for customers like Kristy Clark. She drove to Cleveland Heights from Akron to visit the store.
“I just like to support families and people that are working and not just a handful of corporations that own everything in the country,” said Clark. “They have a lot of stuff I haven’t seen before.”
The store is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. To learn more about S’il Vous Play click here.