It took two years, but now Huckle + Berry Kids has opened its doors, and Andrea Nicholson is happy to have the opportunity to share the toys and books she and her kids love with Powell River.
“I love shopping locally, but there were no options in town to get the high-quality, fantasy-style toys my kids love to play with,” says Andrea. “For Christmas 2020, I ordered a bunch of stuff online, and none of it arrived on time. This experience pushed me to finish my business plan and open my store.”
Andrea had been laid off due to the pandemic and was home with her two children. She realized that after years of working for others, she wanted to become an entrepreneur.
“I think the pandemic has given a lot of people, myself included, time to think about doing their own thing,” she says. “Two years is a long time between the business plan and the official opening; I could only work there in my spare time, but once we committed to going back to daycare, the pressure was there to find a location and get started.
Huckle + Berry Kids opened last month at the south end of Marine Avenue, under Strikers Bowling Alley and next to Kingfisher Used Books, and stocks quality toys that inspire open-ended play for children up to 10 years old, books and art supplies.
“My favorite toy in the store right now is the Connetix Tiles,” says Andrea. “These are magnetic tiles that you can use to build any type of structure, and the sound they make when they collapse is extremely satisfying. You can build your collection with different sets over time, and they’re great for all ages. They are played with every day at our house, and sometimes not by children! »
There’s also a great selection of children’s books at Huckle + Berry Kids.
“Children’s books are a big passion of mine,” says Andrea. “They can be so revealing and create opportunities for great conversations with your kids. We have a good selection now, and I will expand it in the future.
The feedback Andrea has received from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, with many people saying her store is needed here.
“I don’t want to compete with department stores that sell action figures and foam darts,” she says. “The toys and art supplies I carry weren’t available in town, and with more young families moving to Powell River, there’s room for all types of play.”
When looking for a name for her store, Andrea wanted a nature theme in keeping with the beauty of Powell River. When she asked her son what his favorite thing in nature was, he said blueberries, because it’s his favorite berry to pick in the summer, and that’s how the name came about. Soon, Huckle + Berry Kids will bring the best of Powell River to all of Canada.
“My website is almost ready, so I will soon be able to sell online,” says Andrea. “Out-of-town parents will be able to purchase gifts online and have them picked up by parents, or I can ship a gift anywhere in Canada that someone chooses here. I will also have gift cards available shortly, so kids can come in and choose their own toys and books.
Opening Huckle + Berry Kids was a family affair, with four-year-old twins Oliver and Jada providing product testing, husband Dan providing support and encouragement, and extended family providing renovations and care. of children.
“It’s been a great first month,” says Andrea, “and I look forward to being part of the Powell River business community for a long time.
Huckle + Berry Kids is located at 4488 Marine Avenue and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Andrea encourages people to follow the store on Facebook at facebook.com/huckleandberrykidsor call her at 604.413.7073.