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Kidoodles Is Back!

Iconic and Beloved Toys and Educational Games Store Reopens in Carriage Plaza

Ask just about any longtime Norman resident to name their favorite place locally to buy toys and educational games for children—while they were a child themselves or as a parent, grandparent or other looking for great gifts for birthdays and Christmas—and chances are they will all come up with the same answer: Kidoodles.

As a child, my niece, now in her 30s, loved visiting the store, then located in Brookhaven Village. She especially loved the child-sized door, located at the entranceway next to the standard-sized door. So it was natural that, years later, she’d introduce her own son to Kidoodles, which had been located at its longtime site on the north side of Main Street at “the bend,” where it shared a space with Copelin’s Office Center. Bonus: it retained the child-sized door!

When Kidoodles and Copelin’s announced their closing in the spring of 2023, the news was met with a great feeling of loss far and wide. For loyal Copelin’s customers, this marked the end of a nearly 40-year successful business run, as Ed Copelin looked forward to enjoying his well-deserved retirement.

But what about the beloved toy store? Was it the end of the line for this iconic business?

For a while, things looked grim.

Behind the scenes, however, a couple was considering a longtime dream involving the beloved store.

Explains Stephanie O’Hara: “Our family has been Kidoodles customers since 2008, when our first son was born. After a six-year infertility battle, we welcomed our girl/boy twins in 2015, who became Kidoodles fanatics. Over the years, I would joke with Jennifer Brooks, the manager of Kidoodles—to “put my name in the hat” to purchase the store when the Copelins decided to retire.

“That phone call came this past January! My husband, Dirk, and I met the Copelins for coffee, and the rest is history. The Copelins closed Kidoodles’ doors in May of this year, and we purchased it from them that same month, with one stipulation: that Jennifer Nelson, their manager of 23 years, would come with us. (She said yes!)”

When the announcement was made in the local media that Kidoodles was re-opening—and only a mile or so west of its previous location—our family rejoiced, as, I’m sure, did many others in Norman and the surrounding communities.

The O’Haras chose to locate Kidoodles in Norman’s Carriage Plaza which, Stephanie observed, is composed of all-women-owned businesses. And to the delight of children, they brought the little door with them!

“Thousands and thousands of children (and adults) have walked through that little door over the last four decades—it truly is a nostalgic icon in Norman,” Stephanie noted.

Renovations on the space were started in June, and Stephanie and Jennifer went to market and started purchasing items for the store.

“It has been so fun and incredibly special to watch not only young customers walk through the little door, but also those who visited the store in the 1980s and 1990s and are now grown, many with children of their own,” Stephanie said.

“We are Norman's ONLY toy store and children’s boutique in a 30-plus-mile radius," she added. "There is NO other store like this in Oklahoma—one that carries kids’ toys, books and clothing.”

In addition to just-for-fun and educational toys and plush items, Kidoodles sells books, and clothing and accessories, for ages 4-16.

“We take pride in procuring many brands that are women-owned, items that are made in the USA, and or are minority-owned or sustainable/green,” she noted, with pride.

“Some of the brands we carry are Squishables, Iscream, Lola & The Boys, Warmies, Me & Henry, Fat Brain Toys, Swurfer, Crazy Aaron's, Great Pretenders, Le Toy Van, Play Monster, Tenzi, Thames & Kosmos … and SO much more!”

But there’s even more great things in store for Kidoodles shoppers.

“In addition to offering a wide assortment of gifts, we do complimentary gift wrapping (and have already been wrapping for Christmas!) and offer curbside service,” she said.

Kidoodles also offers birthday basket registries, and storytime sessions on Thursdays at 4 p.m. with Stephanie’s mother, “Nana Cotton,” 81, a retired schoolteacher and gifted storyteller. They also offer a free gift to shoppers who come in on their birthday.

Stephanie loves seeing people come in who are brand-new to the Kidoodles experience. But they cherish the store’s loyal followers and, by way of enticing them into the new store, offer first-, second- and third-generation Kidoodles hats. Thanks to the installation of bubblegum-scented candles, the new store even smells like its predecessors.

“The grandparents who are our customers are Kidoodles fanatics: they brought their children through the little door years ago, and now they’re bringing their grandchildren!”

Stephanie invites Lifestyle readers to “come by and say hello.” Borrowing the words of Rick to Capt. Renault in the classic film, Casablanca, she declares, “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!”


@kidoodlesofnorman (insta, facebook)

2001 West Main, Suite 123, Norman, OK 73069


About 40 Years Ago Kidoodles was launched by Realtor Jan Nelson in Brookhaven Village. In addition to its special little door for young customers, the store was known for its "birthday wish" wagons and bubblegum scent and for its offers of eclectic and unique toys. It was purchased in 2004 by Linda Angel. Five years later, the Copelins purchased it from her and moved the store to downtown Norman. The store is now located in Carriage Plaza.

  • Ribbon cutting with Kidoodles owner Stephanie O'Hara (in pink), her family (husband Dirk in the bow tie), Kidoodles staff, Norman Chamber of Commerce staff and
  • From left: Gideon Holt; Stephanie O’Hara; Aidan O’Hara, the owners’ oldest son (all three help out at the store); Jack White; Everett Lee
  • Jan Nelson (left), original owner of Kidoodles, and Stephanie O’Hara, new owner share a hug.
  • Stella O’Hara and Smith O’Hara (the owners’ 8-year-old twins) doing the ribbon cutting on the little door
  • Liam Davies walks through the little door at the newest iteration of Kidoodles in Carriage Plaza in Norman. (Photo by Lindsey Davies)