Cheeky Monkey Toys

Menlo Park, CA
A toy store hailing from beautiful Menlo Park, California – also home to Joan Baez, Stevie Nicks, and Ken Kesey.

For Dexter Chow, many factors converged
to lead him to where he is today.


Working at a tech company in the earlier years of this century, Chow saw the dot com bubble bursting and had the foresight to recognize that he needed to look beyond the tech industry. With a child on the way, Dexter also wanted to find something that would allow the family to spend more time together. Starting a business seemed like a natural choice, and a local toy store came up for sale.




“Actually, Cheeky Monkey was the second store that came up for sale. We saw one first that put us in the mind frame that a toy store would be both a lot of fun, and meshed pretty well with having a child. We were too late for that first one, but we were ready when Cheeky Monkey came around, and we moved forward with taking over ship.” Chow recalls, “It was a pretty big change, going from high tech…to a retail toy store.”


There are many ups and downs of being a retailer. “Our biggest struggles are twofold: internally we struggle with finding and retaining great employees. We have a great crew currently, but it’s difficult when most employees don’t look to base their careers at your store – this was a big learning curve from our prior occupations. Externally, we struggle with a shrinking retail base and price competition from chain stores and internet stores. Luckily, we have a customer base that mostly realizes the value that a local store brings, and is not purely transactional – they value things beyond just price.”

”We have a customer base that mostly realizes the value that a local store brings, and is not purely transactional – they value things beyond just price.”

”We have a customer base that mostly realizes the value that a local store brings, and is not purely transactional – they value things beyond just price.”

At Cheeky Monkey, Chow continues, “We believe that children learn through play – that play is a vital part of their growth.” Adding, “…to this end, we try to create a space where parents and kids feel welcome, and where they are encouraged to try out toys – we try to have lots of play spaces so parents can see what kids are drawn to, as well as just to have fun.”

Having a strong mission and clear values permeates throughout their operation, “This also applies with making decisions on buying toys – we look both for how cool the toy is, but also what it brings in terms of education.”

We want to extend a warm thank you to Dexter and Cheeky Monkey Toys, for letting us get to know them a little better, and for being fantastic members of the Lightspeed family.

“Our greatest successes have been building and creating a fun place that people love to bring their children.”

“Our greatest successes have been building and creating a fun place that people love to bring their children.”

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