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BRICK-BY-BRICK: Grand Rapids man opens secondhand LEGO retail store

David West has been interested in LEGOS since he was 9 years old. Losing pieces always bothered him. David's 'D-n-A Bricks' is the ultimate 'LEGO Lost-n-Found.'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — LEGOs. 

What kid didn't have them, and endlessly create with them?

And what parent hasn't occasionally stepped on them and likely screamed profanities?

It's a brand of toy that's stood the test of time and because of that fact, certain pieces and parts have become highly-coveted items on the secondary market, so much so, that a West Michigan man has decided to cash in, creating the area's only LEGO lost-and-found retail store.

For Grand Rapids native David West, it all started Christmas morning, 2011.

"When I was a kid, every Christmas, I would ask for the newest and biggest LEGO set," said West, 19. "I remember every Christmas, I'd shake each box under the tree and the one that sounded like LEGOs, I opened first."

West would then start building the LEGO set, leaving the remainder of his holiday gifts wrapped until he was finished.

"LEGOs were a true obsession of mine," added West, who's a student at Grand Rapids Community College. "They still are."

Ever since his mother got him his first LEGO set when he was 6-years-old, West says he's been compiling the little plastic bricks ever since. In fact, his bedroom became chock-full of bin after bin filled with Legos so he ultimately rented a warehouse to store them all.

"It was then when a friend and I thought about there being a market for secondhand LEGO parts, "West said. "We did some research and discovered there was a whole underworld loaded with secondhand Lego interest."

West started buying and selling individual LEGO pieces on eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist in August 2020.

"I just kept putting items out and they kept selling," West said, enthusiastically. "Our inventory of LEGO pieces were moving and money was rolling in."

West created an online store which also took off, but he knew to keep the flow of product moving, the next step was to get a storefront.

That was when West decided to open 'DNA Brix.'

DNA Brix, which is located at 4598 Plainfield Ave. NE (Suite B) in Grand Rapids, is a first-of-its-kind, secondhand LEGO store where customers can buy, sell or trade LEGOs.

"The closest LEGO stores to mine are in Detroit and Chicago," West said. "Any parts people need, I likely have them."

He has them meticulously categorized in the backroom.

"If you go to my online store, you'll see each LEGO piece has an identification number," said West. "I cross-reference the number with the small, pull-out bins I have in the back room."

He has walls loaded with little drawers, each filled with specific LEGO pieces.

"A lot of times, people will literally buy thousands of pieces, not just one or two," West said. "I'm finding they're trying to complete models they've designed or completing several sets at the same time."

West builds in a profit margin for each piece. The value is determined by the going rate for that particular piece combined with the time and effort it takes for him to curate through all of the loose pieces to identify the rarer ones.

"People don't mind paying for the convenience I provide," added West. "Finding some of these pieces on their own will likely be more difficult than being able to get them directly from me."

DNA Brix will also sell $3 and $10 bags of random LEGO pieces, individual LEGO characters, secondhand complete sets as well as fully constructed pieces.

"My plan is to have the main bin of loose LEGOs filled with new and different pieces each day," West said. "That way if you don't find the pieces you need today, there's always a chance you will tomorrow."

West says the grand opening for DNA Brix is set for Wednesday, Dec. 1. Hours will be Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Online orders are being filled now. Click here to be taken directly to the online store. You can also find DNA Brix on Facebook and Instagram.

If you have any specific questions, David West says he's currently responding to phone calls and emails. 

Phone: 803-801-BRIX

Email: DNABRIX@GMAIL.COM

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