By LAURI GROSS
Sometimes, the littlest people in your life occupy the most space in your heart, not to mention your home. Shoppers seeking clothing, toys, accessories and other essentials for babies and children need look no further than the village of Chagrin Falls, where many stores provide the opportunity to handle and try out products, rather than leave you to make purchase decisions from a photo online.
Samantha Probst, owner of Little Babet, which sells modern clothing and accessories for children from birth through age nine, summarizes her shop’s appeal in a word: soft. “People like how soft everything is,” she says, as she describes the store’s inventory of organic, eco-friendly baby items that are sustainably made.
“We just got a huge shipment of soft flannel clothing,” she adds. “These are button-down shirts for boys and matching dresses, plus matching outfits for babies, so all the kids can match in their adorable fall photos.” Samantha also mentions cozy fleece tops for kids and European-made snoods. These go over the head to warm a child’s neck.
In August, a second Little Babet location opened at the Atrium Shops at Eton Chagrin Blvd. in Woodmere where Samantha says they have more space to offer larger items like strollers, cribs, wagons and furniture.
Shed Boutique and Wellness offers accessories, giftware, jewelry, home decor, and wellness items, plus baby clothes, stuffed animals, and baby blankets. Owner Halle
Bargar says their window display of baby items attracts shoppers who will especially love the store’s fall offerings of sweaters and knit hats for tots. Shed features vendors that offer fair-trade products, use recycled materials, or donate a portion of their proceeds to worthwhile causes.
Off the Wagon, a family business that started with a store in Kent, now has a Chagrin Falls location bursting with funny and holiday-themed gifts, novelties, unusual candy, crazy socks, games, puzzles and much more. Owner Michelle Sahr, who refers to herself as the guru of fun, says her new Chagrin store is already proving very popular. Shoppers often tell her they could spend all day in her store with so many unique products from which to choose.
“Some of our most popular items this year and this fall include our plush from Squishables, our Tonies, and fun quirky socks and cards for adults.” Michelle explains that their most popular Squishables include those that are shaped like an avocado, coffee pot, and cannoli, plus “weird ones like the grim reaper and red dragon,” she laughs.
The website for the Toniebox (or “Tonie”) describes the product as an imagination-building, screen-free digital listening experience that plays stories, songs, and more, designed for listeners aged 3+, perfect for tiny hands and active imaginations. These are available in box-shape, plus others shaped like popular
characters from Disney, Dr. Seuss and more.
Warmies are also popular at Off the Wagon. These are gently scented, microwavable plush toys that double as a calming sleep aid for warmth and comfort, to keep all the children in your life happy this fall and beyond.
White Magnolia is a French-inspired home and gift boutique which also carries items for little ones, from birth through age four or five. Owner Marji Hauck explains that she mostly carries imported items including stuffed animals from France, smock dresses from Paris and a line of toy mice from Denmark called Maileg. “People collect these,” Marji explains. “There’s a castle and house and things for a little mouse camp, and clothes for the mice, etc.” She adds that she also carries melamine place settings for kids, card games and other learning tools for young children, plus baby blankets and mini-baby blankets that kids can carry with them.
Customers appreciate that White Magnolia’s offerings are unique and unavailable elsewhere, including children’s books, which Marji says have to be different than what’s available across the street at Fireside Bookshop. As for what to look for this fall, Marji says she is headed back to Paris to attend a show where she hopes to find great new baby and children’s items to bring back to Northeast Ohio.