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Lego store opens at Eastview Mall


4/30/2012

Tom Tobin, Democrat and Chronicle
The lure of the simple, plastic Lego brick — interlocking and intergenerational — was on vivid display Friday at Eastview Mall in Victor.

Most of those in the throngs at the mall’s new Lego store were elementary-age children and their dutiful parents or caregivers. But in the crowd were adults reliving a piece — a simple, plastic piece — of their vanished childhoods.

Rocco Pizzirusso of Manchester, Ontario County, was one of those. He built Lego constructions much as other children of his era did. Later in life he went back to them.

Now he has a quarter-million bricks somehow stored in his house. On Friday, he showed store manager Dave Wiesner a massive blow-up photograph of a huge Lego temple-like structure he made. “I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I started and I kept going.”

The new Lego retail outlet, located in the center court of the mall, is holding a grand opening this weekend with T-shirt giveaways, contests and the building of an 8-foot Lego Buzz Lightyear figure in the center court, where Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny ordinarily reign.

By early Friday afternoon, master Lego builder Paul Chrzan had finished the bottom portion of the statue. At tables set up around the project, customers helped to piece together the Lego bricks that will be part of the completed Lightyear.

The plan, Chrzan said, is to finish the project by 5 p.m. Sunday.

“I’ve had a good start,” said Chrzan, who over 23 years at Lego has achieved the master-builder designation. “The base is the hardest part.”

The Lego Group is a family-owned business in Denmark that began in 1932 with wooden play pieces. In 1958, the first plastic Lego was manufactured, and children quickly found they could link and stack the bricks in a variety of ways.

Today, Lego models are available at many retailers. But there are only 58 stand-alone Lego retailers in the United States, and the Eastview store is the first in upstate New York.

There, the 2,000-square-foot store is lined with Lego models suitable for toddlers through adults. The most complex model is the 3,083-piece Death Star.

On Friday, the store bustled with happy, intent children. Susan DeHoney of Greece was there with her 9-year-old son, Alexander, who is a serious Lego builder. We would drive to Philadelphia to go to a store,” DeHoney said. “It’s great that this is here.”

Lego can change lives, store employee Christian Bianchi said. “It wasn’t until I started building Lego that I knew what I liked, what I was good at,” he said.