Several weeks into the school shutdown and you and your kids desperately need something to boost your spirits. You could order stuff from a certain tech Goliath. Or make it an opportunity to support local small businesses — they need you more than ever.
Not sure what to get? Buy a gift card and know that your purchase will help the store in these tough times. Or give them a call, tell them your budget and your audience, and ask them to help put together a few things to do at home.
If money is tight, you can still support your local shops without spending a dime. Lots of people only write reviews to complain; write a positive review and post it to Google, Facebook or Yelp. Post a picture and tag the store. “Like” a post, leave a comment or share a post on your stories.
Skye Saylor, co-founder of the handmade-plush-toy company MarninSaylor, worries about her store’s social media presence decreasing over time. She’s had to close down their Pike Place shop, the studio and lay off four employees.
“If you don’t post enough on Instagram or if you don’t have good enough engagement, then the algorithm changes,” Saylor says. “It’s such a petty thing to be worried about, but yes, tagging and sharing stuff totally helps keep people on our radar.”
Every bit helps. Small-business owners are passionate about their products and go out of their way to provide great customer service. We want them to stick around and continue to be part of our neighborhoods.
These are just a few of the kid-friendly businesses in our area; some are temporarily closed, and the ones that are open are figuring it out day by day. We did our best to make sure the information is correct, but it’s a good idea check online or call to confirm as the situation is fast-changing.
Math ’n’ Stuff
If you think math can’t be fun, you haven’t been to Math ’n’ Stuff. This Maple Leaf store is packed with games and toys to inspire kids to learn and solve problems — perfect for families who are suddenly home schooling. Math ’n’ Stuff just restocked supplementary grade level activity books, and is uploading videos of different games to play on its Facebook page.
The store isn’t open to the public right now, but it is open for phone consultation and curbside pickup weekdays, from noon to 4 p.m. You can place orders by phone, Facebook message, email or through the website (the design is dated, but it works).
Some customers have even reached out to ask if they can donate to help students without resources. “So far, the outpouring of community support has been overwhelming and we are grateful,” says operations manager Mikaela Wingard-Phillips.
Order a Decorate Your Own Cupcake kit and everyone’s in for a fun activity with a sweet prize at the end. The kit ($50, plus $20 delivery fee) includes a dozen cupcakes, vanilla buttercream, sprinkles and sugar toppers. Their delivery area covers most ZIP codes from Mill Creek to SeaTac to Sammamish, and all deliveries are no contact to comply with social distancing.
Trophy Cupcakes also launched a pay-it-forward campaign where fans can donate cupcakes and cupcake kits to families in need and first responders. So far, some 7,000 cupcakes have been donated to hospitals, shelters and nonprofits. “The pay-it-forward orders help us stay in business and our community,” says Trophy Cupcakes founder Jennifer Shea. “We are matching the donations, cupcake for cupcake, when this is all over.”
Snapdoodle Toys is a family-owned business with four locations: Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, Redmond, Kenmore and Issaquah. Co-owners Rob and Cherry Pickering had to temporarily close all four stores (and lay off some 80 employees). Their new online store now has more than 1,000 items listed. Get $5 flat-rate shipping for all local orders during the stay-at-home period.
“It’s a really intense time for all of us,” says Rob Pickering. “People are so hungry to get puzzles, arts and crafts. Lots of games being played, lots of puzzles being made. What can you do for your sanity?”
Snapdoodle offers a huge selection of games and toys for everyone from infants to teens. The staff is great at recommendations — if you need help picking something out, call the Kenmore store (425-408-0021) between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day.
Seattle Pops got its start selling frozen pops out of coolers at farmers markets, and in 2017, opened its first store in Wallingford. It’s known for its gourmet ice pops, in 40 fun flavors like mango chili, Kona coffee and cinnamon horchata.
The retail store is now closed to the public, but Seattle Pops is taking orders for Pop Packs delivery (eight-pack for $39.60). The delivery zone runs from Lynnwood to Tacoma to Issaquah. “We are taking it week by week right now,” says owner Megan Janes. “The first round went well; we received a lot of orders! More than we thought, which is showing how supportive our community is of local small businesses.”
With its weekly deliveries, Seattle Pops is also picking up donations of face masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves, soap and nonperishable food. They’ll bring the items to hospitals and FamilyWorks, a nonprofit resource center and food bank. Delivery tips are matched and donated to FamilyWorks. You can also treat health care workers to pops!
If you’re looking for noisy plastic toys that require batteries, you won’t find them at Clover Toys. This darling boutique store in the heart of Ballard is filled with the best imaginative, screen-free toys for babies to preschoolers. Looking for a present? Grimm’s wooden rainbows are a bestseller.
Co-owners Ashley Church and Brittney Geleynse are adding products nonstop to their just-launched online store, and are happy to be your personal shoppers via phone, video chat, email, Instagram or Facebook messages. No-contact home delivery is free with a minimum $30 purchase to all Seattle addresses.
“We’re all just trying to figure out how to keep our heads above water,” Church says. “We really appreciate the support!
Calico Toy Shoppe and Curious Kidstuff
Kids who live on islands could use some cheering up, too, and luckily, Calico Toy Shoppe on Bainbridge Island and Curious Kidstuff in the West Seattle Junction are both open limited hours for phone orders and no-contact curbside pickup. (We know West Seattle isn’t technically an island, but, with the bridge out of commission, it definitely feels like one.)
The two stores are both owned by Calico Toy Shoppe, following a merger last year. You can pick up orders at Calico Toy Shoppe, in downtown Winslow, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Curious Kidstuff’s hours are Monday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Place orders anytime by voicemail or Facebook Messenger.
Is this more convenient than one-click ordering? No. But that’s the extra step you have to take to support a small business. Popular now are jigsaw puzzles, games, Legos, arts and crafts, stuffies and outdoor toys. Not sure what to get? Give the store a call and ask them to put together a “Boredom Buster Pack,” or buy a gift certificate over the phone.