Small Businesses We Love: Twinkle Twinkle Little Store

Tucked away in a plaza on the Tamiami Trail in Naples is a one-of-a-kind store with a clever name. At Twinkle Twinkle Little Store, you can find just about anything you want or need relating to maternity, baby, and kids; both new product and resale.

What makes this locally owned store so special? It isn’t the 8,000 square feet of store space. No, not even the fact that they have a four-story play area to entertain your kids while you shop (seriously!). My favorite thing about Twinkle Twinkle Little Store is that when you walk in, you are not only greeted by a smiling store associate. Chances are, she is holding a smiling baby that is just as happy to see you!

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Twinkle Twinkle Little Store was started in 2008 when owner Cheryl Courson realized that she shouldn’t have to work so hard to have someone else raise her children. Reliable child care is hard to find and hard to afford for the average family. As she regularly worked 70 hours a week in varying shifts that included nights and weekends, Cheryl knew she needed a change.

A star…uh.. STORE was born!

Twinkle employees bring their babies to work with them! This is the ultimate definition of multi-tasking. You’ll watch a Twinkle mom answer a phone call, nurse a baby, and distract a toddler all in a swift motion. This set up allows these women (and men) to work and earn an income, and also tend to the needs of their young babies and children without sacrificing those special moments that happen in the first months and years of life. Not to mention, they save on all of those day care costs and the headache of securing a sitter for every shift.

Another plus side to having all of those moms and babies in the store: The experience! When you come in with a question, you’ll receive an answer based on real life experience. The employees are familiar with the products because they use them. They can direct you and give advice because chances are they have been there, done that. There is a wide range of families, large and small, from all walks of life.

Let’s get back to that play area. In the back of the resale side of the store there is a towering play area that spans the back wall.

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With two slides and multiple levels, your children can get lost in a game of hide and seek while you shop peacefully.

Speaking of shopping: You’ll find kid sizes ranging from preemie to 16/18. A long row of maternity clothes, both new and resale. Clearance racks with a ton of great deals starting at only a quarter! Yep. Just 25 cents! Not to mention shoes, accessories, and all the toys and books you can ask for. And it is all just a fraction of retail.

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You can also bring your gently used clothes and toys to Twinkle to sell them. You’ll receive an offer for store credit, which is perfect for moving up to the next size. Or, you can choose cash on the spot. You also get a coupon just for bringing items in. For those items that Twinkle can’t accept at the moment, you have the option to donate. Twinkle works with a long list of local charities and has its own Outreach program. The Twinkle Outreach program helps local families in need and hosts special events like the Back to School giveaway.

There is also a Co-op program which allows parents to volunteer in the store (babies in tow!) and earn store credit. This flexible program is perfect for stay at home moms, or families looking to get stuff for their children without shelling out a ton of cash.

Along with all of this, the store also offers baby gear rentals. The rentals are perfect for those vacationing in the SWFL area. You can reserve a crib and all of the essentials and have it delivered to your hotel or rental home. They strive to make your vacation as stress free as possible.

Think that locals don’t need to rent anything? Think again! Locals can rent beach gear like toys, towels, umbrellas, coolers, and so much more. Use it for a day on the water and return it on the way home. Save a little time for yourself by not having to take it all home and wash it out.

If you think that this place sounds great, you should come in and see for yourself!

Visit their website HERE

The store is located at 4172 Tamiami Trail North in Naples.

 

The Downside to Hand-Me-Downs

Your sister gave you the stroller and car seat that she used for her last child. He is almost four now and they aren’t having any more children so that works out. Your best friend gave you a crib, too? You are really striking it lucky here. Those are big-ticket items that you don’t have to buy now.

But, wait. Did you check for recalls?

Yes, even that product that was used daily for another child could be recalled for various reasons. And now it is in your home waiting for you to use it on your baby.

Now, this isn’t meant to be fear-mongering. But it is meant to make you take a second look at what you may be given from well-meaning friends and family members. Or, maybe what you bought from the garage sale last weekend. Or, maybe you knew that you were going to have a large family so you saved your baby stuff from your very first child. These are all good intentions, but they can be hazardous. I know that if I saved the items I used for my first-born, I would be using recalled items. Just about every single thing. The crib, the stroller, the car seat, and even some of his toys.

You see, I work in an industry that deals with baby gear and recalls all the time. I get an email once a recall is issued. Some are simple fixes, and are most commonly caused by user error. Take the Bumbo seat for example. If you have one without straps, it is considered recalled. Babies can arch their backs and push themselves out of the seat. If the seat is being used correctly, this isn’t such a problem as the babies only fall a few inches to the ground. However, many people use the seat incorrectly and place it on the table or other elevated surface causing the baby to fall a greater distance and sustain more injury. The fix? Contact the company. They will send you a set of straps for free.

Other recalls can be more serious. Reports of babies and children dying or getting seriously injured. Drop-side cribs are an example of this. If you are using a crib that was manufactured before 2011, I urge you to look at current federal safety standards and make sure that your crib meets the guidelines. Many strollers have been recalled due to entrapment and strangulation and fingertip lacerations/ amputation. No toy or piece of equipment is immune to potentially having a recall. Brand doesn’t matter either. Some of the most popular brands have recalls on multiple items. This is why it is important to stay current with guidelines and safety issues. The Consumer Product Safety Commission┬áis a wealth of information and resources regarding recalls and potential fixes.

As parents, our number one priority is the safety of our children. Let’s do our best to keep the gear they use safe. They will figure out plenty of other ways to get hurt, like riding down the stairs in a laundry basket. Hello six stitches in the forehead.