Upon entry into the all-things Lego themed shop Brick Builders, a rush of nostalgia washes over anybody who ever owned a lego set growing up.You’ll see glass cases filled to the brim with completed models and rows of loose pieces that line the store shelves. Everybody has a story, and Ammon Henrikson, owner of Brick Builders in downtown Eugene, has an incredibly fascinating one.
It all started when Henrikson was a child, building numerous town and castle Lego themed sets. However, unlike most toys, Legos can be a hassle when it comes to cleaning up, with small pieces sure to be scattered across floors. Anyone who has stepped on a Lego barefoot can attest that Legos can be a nuisance if not properly organized.
Henrikson’s ex step-mother was not a fan of the constant mess, discarding the 10-year-old’s entire collection of Legos. Henrikson was devastated. After losing so much, he found it difficult to begin building again. He inevitably stopped playing with Legos as he matured and went on to discover different passions.
As a young adult, Henrikson attended the University of Oregon where he got a degree in both engineering and business. Twenty or so years after he stopped playing with Legos, Henrikson had kids of his own.
His children took up the hobby he once loved, thus rekindling his passion for the brand and its use as a creative outlet. Because Legos are a singular piece of plastic, having many allows for an endless potential of creations with the use of one’s imagination.
“I have a lot of nostalgia and great memories of just spending hours building and creating things,” Henrikson said. “I loved making puzzles and hiding secret compartments.”
After practicing real estate for 14 years, Henrikson finally opened Brick Builders in 2017.
“A lot of the engineering things I learned as a kid, I ended up doing later on in life,” Henrikson said.
Henrikson’s revitalized interest in Legos piqued his curiosity about a possible business venture when he realized there were specialized Lego stores in bigger cities such as Portland and Seattle.
“That discovery sparked the idea that it's possible. You could make a business based on having an entire store dedicated to Legos,” Henrikson said.“That whole idea intrigued me. And, at the time, there was no Lego store in Eugene.”
But Henrikson’s building formula has drastically evolved with age and the knowledge he acquired with his engineering degree. He now focuses his creations on kinetic sculptures that utilize movement via motors and gears, custom robotically controlled vehicles and recreating famous movie scenes.
Henrikson said Brick Builders has over a million Lego pieces, with easy access to parts due to the meticulous organization system he’s crafted throughout the years. Just like Henrikson, many individuals around his age still want to relive their childhood with some of their favorite sets from back in the day — and Brick Builders is here to help.
The store offers individual, hard to find pieces, and — with the sheer magnitude of inventory — Henrikson can even pull enough parts to make an entire set from scratch as long as he knows what pieces are required.
When Henrikson isn’t selling Lego products — ranging from individual mini-figures to franchise crossover sets such as Star Wars and Marvel Super Heroes — Brick Builders offers different services such as birthday parties, made-to-order custom build creations, live action role-playing with medieval weaponry made from foam and even summer camps geared toward learning engineering through the use of Legos.
From building Lego sets at a young age to now owning a real building of his own, Henrickson has made it a long way from his beginnings.