Type of Place: Kids
Some stores are ordinary chains; some seem more like strange dreams- Pamela Grossman; Oct 31,2006
($120 socks, anyone?). Some invite you to contemplate the implications of
a Size 0. And once in a while, you find some that feel like home.
"We don't mind if you spill raisins on our carpet," reads the website
for children's shop Flying Squirrel, "and our store stays cool on hot
days. All are welcome to come in to play and shop, pet the dog, change
their diapers, complain about stuff, or just hang out." This approach is apparent in everything the shop does, from putting out
communal toys for its toddler clients to offering gently used clothing
(vintage for kids!), so that parents are spared the expense of brand
new clothes that their offspring will wear for mere months or even weeks. Moms, dads,
and little ones meet and greet freely and quite cheerily; I shopped for
almost two hours and witnessed not one whiny episode or teary meltdown
(from a child or a parent!). The vibe is so friendly and relaxed that,
when the woman normally seated at the front desk was helping a
customer, I was tempted to pick up the store phone on her behalf.
The used clothing is priced as such even though it may, in fact, never
have been used at all. That is, items bought from customers are
steeply discounted even if--as is often the case--they still have their
original shop tags. So someone else's baby-shower surplus of, say, shirts
for a 9 month old can therefore be your big gain. I found a
used-but-never-worn, hand-dyed, all-cotton onesie with a matching hat, size 3-6
months, for the incredible price of $6. There was also a flawless pink
winter coat, size 2T, for $12 and a good-as-new girls' black cotton
cardigan with embroidered apples for $9. Hurry in and take advantage of the
adorable Halloween costumes (pumpkin, dalmation, princess, dragon, et
al), in great shape, from around $8 (some a bit less).
Among the "officially new" items, I liked the K. Beane Creations
onesies (with "original nursery artwork"), $24, and the cute selection of new
winter hats, $12. Toys and books are also well chosen and very
As I wandered through the shop, taking notes and picking things out for
various tots in my life, one shopping mamma, toddlers in tow, wanted
her opinion heard. "I really hope you're writing good things," she said.
"Oh, of course," I answered. "This shop is great." "It's the best store
in the world," the mother replied. "I allowed myself to have a second
child because I knew this place exists." From the mouth of a mom: If
that isn't a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is.