Some of what is available at Funky Monkey, which opened Friday, May 20 at 4 South Ave. in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan
A New Canaan woman who recently moved to town has opened a children’s games, toys, clothing and accessories shop on South Avenue, in the space known to generations of locals as the Sweet Shoppe.
Town resident Amanda Cui opened Funky Monkey at 4 South Ave. in New Canaan on Friday, May 20, 2016. Credit: Michael Dinan
Amanda Cui said she visited New Canaan in November on a friend’s recommendation and moved to town earlier this month with her family, including her 2- and 7-year-old daughters.
“I saw the stores and the neighborhoods and I liked it,” Cui said on a recent afternoon, standing between two kids’ stations—one for creating model ice cream sundaes, another for lip gloss—at the front of her colorful, eclectic shop.
Funky Monkey opened Friday.
“I saw that they don’t have this stuff. Kids can come here to free play with new toys and free learn, and they will have fun. I’ll bring the fashions here and I have a lot of stations with cool, fun things for kids to do.”
Her offerings include Japanese snacks for babies and kids, Ramune pop soda, sugar-free rice crackers, puzzles for all ages, flip-flops, goggles, bug spray, perfume, headbands, scented makeup bags, Swedish reading lights, kickboards, swimwear from England, France and Denmark, activewear for mothers, leggings for kids and teens and an illuminating cell phone case from London.
A China native and formerly the owner of a women’s boutique in New York City, Cui said she’s “very excited” about the shop and plans to host “Funky Fridays” each week from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., where kids can come in, sample some snacks and try playing at various fun stations.
Funky Monkey joined the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce even prior to opening on Friday, according to the organization’s executive director, Tucker Murphy.
“She carries some unique offerings and is eager to get involved,” Murphy said, adding that she welcomes Cui and Funky Monkey both as a resident and business.
In offering “free play” at the shop, Funky Monkey in some ways addresses a void left when Let’s Dress Up on Cherry Street closed after five years there. In terms of kids’ toys and candy, the shop enters a local market that includes Mackenzie’s across the street, Baskin Robbins on Main Street, The Toy Chest also on Main and New Canaan Toy Store on Park.
Cui said she selected her items as a mom—“they love these things, and these are all the kids’ favorites, from my experience,” she said. Her older daughter will enter South School as a second-grader in the fall, she said.
Funky Monkey is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.