Meet Yvonne & Cassandra Mathis

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Yvonne & Cassandra Mathis, Alakazam

“We really love to sell to local families because we get to follow up and hear about how they liked the toys…”

Photo by Jen Fariello

Mother/daughter duo Yvonne and Cassandra Mathis opened Alakazam after Cassandra decided to leave her corporate job for the magical world of toys. The two love their spot on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall: “It is such a fun kaleidoscope of people, music, restaurants and shops,” says Cassandra. “We wouldn’t want Alakazam to be anywhere else.”

The shop offers top-quality art materials and toys crafted from wood and natural fibers, many made in the United States. Local Virginia products include GLUX putty, bubble-gum and root beer making kits, and books by local authors such as Cris Arbo.

Mother and daughter agree that the best part of the business, besides working with each other, is playing with the toys! Yvonne loves the addictively fun board game Settlers of Catan, while Cassandra is a fan of the Jelly Cat corduroy animals.

The shop hosts free craft events one weekend a month. And, kids can join the birthday club for special discounts and a free gift during their birthday month. Kids of all ages will enjoy a trip to this fun, colorful shop!

From Ivy Publications, publishers of: Locally Charlottesville, a Charlottesville guide to shopping, local dining and arts; CharlottesvilleFamily, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; the Charlottesville Welcome Book

, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, University of Virginia and sports as well as a relocation handbook; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book Wedding Directory, a multimedia planning tool of wedding venues, cakes, favors and more for planning the perfect Charlottesville wedding.