By Tom Lambert

Ted Christoff will never forget the pure joy he felt walking through the doors of Jackson’s Toy Store when he was a young boy.

And years later, he cherished sharing that youthful exuberance with his three young children. They watched in wonderment at model planes buzzing around, stuffed animals banging symbols as a toy train rumbled around the jubilant place that became a staple for families in mid-Michigan.

Now decades later, Ted is all aboard when it comes to protecting Michigan’s environment through our Clean Energy Plan. That includes being “all in” on renewable energy and energy efficient products.

Lasting Legacy

“I want our family legacy to be that we care about our community while protecting our environment,” Christoff said. “And I want future generations of my family and this community to enjoy everything that Michigan and our planet have to offer.”

After the Toy Store closed in 2016, Ted and his brother Tom had a new chapter in mind for the landmark: the new home of their business  ??  Christoff & Sons Floor Covering Inc.

The Christoff business has been a fixture on South Elm Street since 1979 when their father Chris realized his dream of running a family business.

“Who knew the place we were coming to as kids and parents would end up being our world headquarters one day,” Ted said with a laugh. “If there was ever a time to go after a dream, this was it.”Christoff2

Tom Christoff said he remembered telling his children the Toy House was closing at the dinner table.

“They started crying,” he said shaking his head at the thought. “That’s the impact the place had on children, including me. When the building went up for sale, my brother and I knew what had to be done. Some things are just meant to be.”

The Toy House, which opened in 1949, was one of the largest independent toy stores in the nation.

New Digs to Celebrate

The Christoffs were scheduled to open their new digs by the end of 2019. And thanks to some help from a Consumers Energy business account manager who met with the brothers to go over ways they can cut down on energy costs, they have added special touches that are friendly to the planet and their annual budget:

  • About 100 new energy efficient LED bulbs will highlight the many colors and products the company offers.
  • Two new on-demand water heaters only heat water when needed.
  • A new programmable thermostat will control the entire 30,000 square foot building.
  • New solar panels capture renewable energy and will result in lower energy bills in the not-so-distant future.
  • An electric vehicle charger offers another customer benefit and encourages overall better health through reduced emissions.
  • A community room offers space for local nonprofits to hold meetings, avoiding other new construction or renovation costs elsewhere in the city.

The brothers said it’s another way they are leading by example to make mid-Michigan a better place to live. And they thank their energy provider for helping them reach that goal.

“Consumers Energy has been there for us since day one,” said Ted Christoff, who is chair of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with how things are going, and the sky’s the limit for the future of our business.”

The brothers are also quick to credit their deceased parents for their work ethic and pride in making their business the success it is today.

“Our father always said there is nothing more important than your name,” Ted Christoff said. “Both of my parents would be proud of our new home. And my brother and I will make sure their legacy and our name will live on.”

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