Thursday, December 15, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Our guiding principle for selecting all the toys in our store is play value. We ask, how much will your child enjoy playing with this toy compared with
what it cost? Our observation from 15 years of parenting is that the toys that kids play with most are the simplest--toys that require kids to invest their own imagination instead of just responding to a pre-programmed microchip. The one toy in our store with the most play value is probably our BEKA Unit Blocks, which have been a part of our kids' play from the age of 1 through 12 and beyond.
So, with play value in mind, here's our list of favorites for 2011!
- Green Toys Vehicles - these tough trucks are safe for toddlers and perfect for big kids! They'll hold up to hours of sandbox play and are made in the USA from recycled milk bottles. We're particularily fond of their brand new School Bus!
- The Grow Up Transformable Wooden Ride On & Cart - These just arrived! This brilliantly designed toy transforms from a toddler push cart into a cargo-carrying ride on and then into big kid shopping cart. A great value that's three toys in one!
- Our Wooden Fishing Pole - This toy is truly a Peapods classic, and it recently won recognition as one of Mothering Magazine's Best Natural Toys of 2011.
- Nuchi Wooden Train Sets - These back to basics wooden trains don't blink or beep or talk but they're capture your child's imagination nonetheless.
- Rody Ride on Toys - Made in Italy, these are perfect for indoor gross motor play during these long winter months!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
- Find unique locally-made gifts at the artisan fair at Milton Square (1 block east of us and home to Micawbers Book Store, The Little Wine Shoppe, Serendipity Flowers, Bungalow Pottery and Muffuletta)
- Festive Holiday Carolers cheering the neighborhood 11:30-1:30
- Santa & Mrs. Claus and Reindeer-pulled sleigh rides next door to us at Park Midway Bank 9:30-1:30
- A tree lighting ceremony with Santa at Milton Square at 5:00
- Wine Tasting at the The Little Wine Shoppe 1:00-4:00
- Cookie Decorating at Speedy Mart 1/2 block west of us
- A book sale at Micawber's benefiting the Saint Anthony Park School
Monday, November 21, 2011
More and more people are wondering why we have this thing called "Black Friday", which is now creeping back through the early morning hours and into Thanksgiving itself. Why get up early and fight huge crowds when you can have stress-free fun shopping at your favorite locally-owned indie shops? Skip the big boxes and have some fun instead!
- $5 Peapods Gift Card
- $20 Peapods Gift Card (at least 4 available in the fish bowl!)
- $50 Peapods Gift Card (one of these in the bowl)
- $20 Gift Certificate to our neighbor Micawber's Book Store (2 available)
- $20 Gift Certificate to our neighbor the Little Wine Shop (1 available)
- $20 Gift Certificate to our neighbor The Bibelot (1 available)
- Beka Construction Site Toy valued at $120 (made in Minnesota)
- Haba Technics Building Blocks Set valued at $70
- Swaddle Designs Swaddling Blanket Gift Pack valued at $38
- A bunch of other prizes including Kid's Chapter Books from Micawber's, Kathe Kruse baby toys, a Ravensburger puzzle, and a fleece-line Urban Baby Bonnet
- Baby K'Tan Baby Carriers 20% off
- Econobum single packs from BumGenius will be Buy One, Get One Free
- BumGenius 4.0 Pocket Diapers will be Buy 5, Get 1 Free
- FuzziBunz One Size Pocket Diapers (not the new Elite style) will be %30 off
- BabyLegs 3-Packs will be $19.99 (Regular price $36)
- Kallisto Organic Stuffed Animals Made in Germany (absolutely lovely!) will be $29.99 (limited supplies; regular retail $60-$70)
- Rockin' Green Detergent's brand new SECRET HOLIDAY SCENT will be $11.99 for Classic Rock and $12.99 for Hard Rock (Normally $14.99/$15.99)
- Grovia: Buy 2 Grovia Shells and get 1 free
- Ergo Baby Carriers: Get a free infant insert with each Ergo Purchase
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Stephanie Johnson offers an evening discussion about the effects of electronic toys and media on the child’s nervous system. Linking early physical experiences to future emotional and cognitive development, Ms. Johnson offers a unique perspective on child development. She is known for her warmth, clarity and humor and passionately educates the community on the body’s role in learning.
Babies in arms are welcome. For more information about Stephanie Johnson MA, R-DMT, LPC or Sage Education Center, please visit sageeducationcenter.com
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
We visited with a lot of our new suppliers and found lots of great new products, too. Watch our facebook page over the coming weeks as we announce new arrivals! Specifically, we got a chance to see new products from bumGenius, including a new one-size all-in-one, new colors and prints, and a new Flip training pant. We should be among the first stores to receive those. Also arrivng soon are new styles of the Beco Gemini and Ergo baby carriers.
We also had great conversations with the folks from Thirsties, Naturpedic, Bummis, SoftBums, Haba, Doodletown, and many more.
In conjunction with the trade show, we attended the annual meetings of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) and the Real Diaper Industry Alliance (RDIA). We got to meet Peggy O'Mara, the founder of Mothering Magazine, and lots of other retailers and manufacturers. We also got a chance to talk with Neal Cohen, the CPSC's small business ombudsman, about current product safety issues. These meetings were probably the highlight of our trip.
The Bad Idea Fairy Awards
As always, there were a lot of goofy products on display. There's always something there that seems to go out of its way to promote detatchment parenting. This year's standout was the Laptime infant lap seat by Infant Affection. It's basically a padded infant seat to use when holding your baby--presumably so that you won't have to actually touch your baby. Or maybe because mom and dad's arms are just too hard. We couldn't quite understand why this product was necessary.
The oddest product we saw was a flowery headband gift for a baby that comes on a card suggesting that the headband should be saved and used later as a bridal garter belt. Talk about great expectations! We probably won't be ordering any of these, either.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I helped found the Handmade Toy Alliance in 2008, and I've made three trips to Washington DC and testified twice in Congress. Along with hundreds of other retailers, crafters, and small manufacturers, we've been trying to make the argument that handcrafted children's products deserve protection.
Yesterday, in a flurry of action during all the chaos of the debt ceiling debates, Congress finally passed a bill that offers a way forward for small businesses and targeted exemptions from the costs of third party testing. It was a truly bipartisan bill with only 2 no votes in the House and none in the Senate. We expect it to be signed by the president within days. We believe that these changes will save hundreds of businesses and many of our store's suppliers.
I have to thank the other members of the HTA board, all of whom have been working tirelessly to reach this day. They're a remarkable group of people with a diverse set of talents. They've helped me keep going even when all hope of change seemed to be lost.
We've all learned a huge amount about how the government works. And we've learned that it really is true that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Thanks also to all of our wonderful customers to wrote to Congress on our behalf--you really made a difference!
Finally, I have to thank Senator Amy Klobuchar, who's office has been incredibly helpful from the beginning. Senator Klobuchar helped us to shape this bill so that it was as helpful as possible and used her influence to push it through the Senate on a unanimous consent vote. We also owe thanks to our friends at MetroIBA, the Minnesota Retailers Association, and Park Midway Bank, all of whom helped us bring this issue to the Senator's attention.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Yes, this is the big event! It only happens once a year—bunches of stuff on sale 25-75% off. Closeouts, overstocks, scratch & dents, discontinued items, errant purchases, stuff we don't know where it came from, things we wondered "why did we schlep these to the new store?", etc. As always, this is a huge event that happens only once a year and everything's priced to move. Sale runs 10am to 6pm June 24th and 25th.
Because our sidewalk sale is a busy event, we recommend (but do not require) shopping without small children. Our sale will take place rain or shine. Sidewalk sale purchases are final—no returns or exchanges. No fair arriving early!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
We designed our original peapod logo in 1999 by editing an MS-Publisher clip art image of vegetables. The font for "Peapods" was Rage Italic, also from MS-Publisher (the same font Panera uses for its menu boards). By 2005, the logo seemed awfully dated and, um, somewhat unprofessional. So we hired Katrina Hase at Mix Creative to redesign our logo. The sign, however, remained--mostly due to the cost of replacing it.
With our move, however, we needed to get that sign down. We're pretty hardy do-it-yourselfers, but we realized removing the sign from its mountings on the brick above the fabric awning would require some professional help. Plus, we were a bit preoccupied with our move and getting our new space into shape. So, we hired a sign company from Eagan to take it down. We would decide later whether to recycle it or keep it as a souvenir.
One day in February, Dan drove our minivan down to Eagan to take a look. We had the idea that he might just load it into the back of the van and drive it home. When he got there, though, it was clear that the sign is much bigger than what we assumed--it's a full 16 feet long and 40" tall. Recycling would be a far easier option. But, it looked so sad, lying there in snow. Dan felt especially sentimental about it, so we arranged to have it delivered to the new store.
So now it's at the new store. Now what? It was too big to even go down the stairs to the basement. The only possible place for it was to hang it high on the wall in our back room, which is phase 2 of our expansion into our new store.
Our back room was the former hardware store's repair shop, where they fixed windows and lawn mowers. A little more than 1,000 square feet, it is actually the oldest part of the building. It was built as a automobile service garage fronting the alley in 1930. The main front part of the building was added 10 years later and became Park Hardware.
When we bought the building, the back had a cement slab floor, cinderblock walls, an uninsulated ceiling, a large space heater hanging in one corner, and was lit by big fluorescent lights. Much of our work in the new store was to convert the back room into usable space. We insulated the ceiling and walls, installed a vapor barrier underlayment on the floor, built space for our office, installed a new furnace, sheetrocked the walls, hung a new ceiling, and installed a beautiful new cork floor. And then hung up our old sign.
So, there it is. Right above our new cloth diaper shelves. It's maybe a little Cracker Barrel--hanging old signs on the wall--but we think it of it as an homage to our old store and all of our memories that go along with it.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Cloth diapers have come a long way in past 10 years, and it's time to stand up and be noticed! In the Twin Cities, gather at our store at 2290 Como Ave in St Paul to help make history. Events start at 9:30 am with the big CHANGE happening at 11 am. Local diaper manufacturer Sarah from Softbums will also be on hand for demos. And, did we mention, there will be door prizes!
How to Participate:
Pre-registration is required so that we can plan for official observers, parking, etc. Go to www.dogooddiapers.com/guinness_record_sign_up to sign up for our event. Check out the national website to learn more about what is going on around the globe. And, follow us on facebook for updates and additional information as we get closer to the big event!
Friday, January 28, 2011
We wrote earlier about how this lead us to install a new high efficiency furnace in the back room of the new store. What we didn't mention then was that we were hoping to get a couple more years out of the 1963 forced air beast that served the front part of the store.
Well, we came up a bit short on that. We were open only 5 days when we heard this loud clunk clunk clunk CLUNK BANG! from the basement. The pulley system that drives the blower fan had seized and self-destructed. No more heat.
Well, 47 years of service isn't bad, right?
So, we called Boehm Heating once again. They put a temporary blower in the old furnace (so we could stay warm during last week's arctic blast) and put us the schedule to get another new furnace.
As of today, we are now the proud owners of 2 high-efficiency furnaces, each rated at 95.5% efficiency, which is about 25% more efficient than before. which means our gas bill should also be about 25% less.
Although it was kind of a bummer to deal with this so soon after opening, at least we were able to use it as an opportunity to improve our building and, just a bit, our planet as well.
Thanks again to Boehm Heating for their quick response and service.