Hello & welcome to Land of Oz, I’m so happy you stopped by!
My name is Elena, a proud owner of this charming toy shop, and I’d love to share a little bit of my background with you. When you meet me you may notice there’s something different about me (ahem, my accent!), so let’s start at the beginning. I was born in Russia and my father served in the Russian army, so the family relocated every couple of years. I’ve lived in Hungary and the Ukraine, but mostly in Moscow, where I received my MA in Education and International Communication. I came to the U.S. to work with people with disabilities during the summer in between semesters at college, and was fortunate to be offered the chance to stay in New York after graduation to teach at a Special Education pre-school. I also ran a daycare facility for adults with intellectual disabilities, which was an incredible and fulfilling experience.
I met my husband Michael, who is Welsh, while working at a special needs summer camp. He is now a director of that same camp, which led us to relocate to the beautiful Hudson Valley from NYC when he was offered the job to run the camp 11 years ago. We have two beautiful and spirited daughters, Teagan and Nia, who are now 7 and 10 years old.
When the opportunity arose to take over Land of Oz, I knew it would be the perfect fit! It has allowed me to blend my diverse cultural background and interest in how people communicate with my love of children and education, and delight in how they grow, learn, and begin to experience the world through play. Having the experience of working with children in a school setting and then having my own at home, I have become very passionate about finding the best quality toys and games for all kids. I make sure to conduct a lot of research on how the toys are made, where they come from, as well as learning details about the companies that sell them. It is also extremely important and a priority of mine to find as many products made in the USA in an effort to support local products and our national economy. I focus on quality, and my main goal is to find the toys that are not only fun, but can also teach children during play, which can lay the foundation for a lifetime of curiosity, open-mindedness and love of learning.
Thank you for your business and interest in what we do. Please feel fee to introduce yourself when you come in to the store, I love to learn more about my customers' experiences, feedback, and personal family stories. Hope to see you soon!