A nook inside Java Mama has been transformed through the simple installation of shelves. Now filling what was previously empty wall space, the floating white platforms are filled with brightly colored stuffed animals, doughnut-shaped chalk and even a make-believe wooden espresso machine. The selections are the carefully curated choices of Java Mama’s newest ally Madeline Laperouse, who owns and operates the children’s boutique Birdies that now lies inside Java Mama’s doors. Laperouse, a mother of two and longtime lover of the café-turned-play space, says she never imagined she would be adding store owner to her resumé, especially since she works full time as an accountant. However, she notes that the change has come as a welcome addition to her busy schedule.
“I used to always go to Java Mama, and the owner, Melissa Oubre, and I became friends,” says Laperouse. “We started talking about a partnership, and she said she needed a retail space. Over dinner, we really came up the whole idea.”
“Having retail inside of Java Mama helps complete our goal of creating a one-stop shop for all things mom, dad and child,” adds Oubre. “We are trying something a little unconventional with our retail. By outsourcing, this allows Java Mama to focus on creating magical birthday parties and customized events, as well as preparing delicious food and coffee.”
Starting small, Laperouse says she would go into her children’s playroom at night and take note of the toy brands she loved most. Looking for items that were aesthetically pleasing as well as functional and fun for kids, she began growing her inventory.
“My husband and I both worked on the store after the kids would go to sleep,” she explains, noting that the name of the store came from the memory of her grandmother, who loved to watch birds. “We didn’t want to sell anything too expensive. Most of our stock is in the $25 to $30 range.”
And while the store just had its grand opening on March 30, Laperouse says that she is looking forward to all the things the future will bring.
“I am open to doing anything,” she says. “I love the idea of collaborating with the themes of Java Mama’s birthday parties and eventually going online and expanding to other venues. The idea is so great and I know we can grow so much.”