The Robot Garage Founders, Sarah and Jonathan Jacobs, a Mom-Dad Team
LEGOs and robots bring this family together – including their three STEM-minded daughters – at their Oakland County hub for science fun and education
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"It's a great way to learn about scale, design, etc., but it's a great way to talk about engineering," Sarah says. "We are half engineering and half LEGO."
Sarah & Jonathan's faves
The Jacobses also take The Robot Garage on the road and into classrooms. Teaching kids the importance – and fun – of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, aka STEM education, also drives the Jacobses.
"For (American) kids to succeed in this world, they really need to understand engineering and technology," Sarah says.
The garage also rents space for birthday parties. Kids can build robots and have them battle in a designated space. A LEGO robot also delivers the birthday boy or girl a cupcake, topped with a candle to make a wish.
The payoff is when parents say: "'I wish this had been here when I was a kid,'" Sarah says. "And then you know they get it."
In September, the Jacobses celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. They met in high school at Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills. Jonathan did his wife's homework, she jokes. He went on to earn engineering and business degrees; she, fine arts.
To see the way they are now, you'd never believe they never planned on having a family.
"We were going to live in New York for the rest of our lives, travel, be footloose and fancy-free," Sarah says. "I was in the fashion industry. Jonathan was beginning to work on websites for advertising agencies." But after 12 years in the Big Apple, they grew homesick and moved back to Michigan – and family. They also wanted their kids to know their grandparents, just as they did growing up.
Last fall, Thea let mom know how happy she was they opened the store. The pair were together at the LEGO KidsFest event at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Thousands of people were coming in and out of their robotics booth that weekend, when Thea reached up and gave mom a huge hug.
"And with an equally huge smile, she whispered into my ear, 'I'm so proud,'" Sarah recalls. "I wasn't really sure what she was talking about. But when I asked her, she just said 'I'm so proud we started The Robot Garage.' It's moments like that that make all the juggling of family and business worth it."