RHINEBECK, N.Y. -- Kerry Lee Zeff still remembers the feeling she got walking into a maternity store in Boston 12 years ago. A prenatal massage therapist, the store was a combination maternity shop, wellness center and community center with events for new moms and babies.
And though she didn't have kids yet, she knew when she did, this was the kind of place she wanted to be able to offer a community.
Fast forward to 2008 when, pregnant, she started researching opening a similar business and found Waddle 'n Swaddle in Poughkeepsie. She asked the owner if she'd be interested in opening a second location in Rhinebeck -- and have her lead the charge. "It was either open my own store or open a second location of someone who had my same vision," she said.
Rhinebeck's Waddle n Swaddle has now been open five years; the Poughkeepsie shop has been in operation for eight.The mission of both is to support mothers, families and children through services, education, and well-researched products.
And while folks will recognize certain "popular" brands like Earth Mama Angel Baby, and 3 Sprouts, they also carry a host of small companies that offer niche and useful products. Among the Rhinebeck store's top sellers is an amber necklace which naturally alleviates pain and teething (it also helps adults).
The store starts at maternity with lots of mom-focused classes (i.e. prenatal yoga, birthing and newborn classes) and progresses into children’s classes (music, art, dance). Their carefully chosen products also start at maternity and go through kindergarten, with a strong focus on the newborn/first year category.
Selling big now for the winter season: wool and cashmere winter boots, mittens and hats.
Classes are an essential part of Waddle n Swaddle with weekly music, yoga, dance and art classes with the coo of babies almost a constant presence. Zeff said she can't even count the number of babies she's seen pass through her doors, not to mention the ones her staff brings to the "office."
"We want to always be a place where people can come with their little ones and be comfortable," she said. "We're all about supporting and enjoying the community and watching our kids grow." she said.
Waddle n Swaddle is at 41 E. Market St., (845) 876-5972, www.waddlenswaddle.com/ .
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