A Departure (of Huntington, of unemployment, of bikey things)


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Tomorrow (Sunday) I leave for three days, all on my lonesome, for Louisville, KY. There, I hope to meet up with shop owners, merchandisers, and industries leaders. While, my reputation has grown for family cycling, my working background is in non-profit youth services, and my educational/working degree is centered on fine art, I am venturing in a new direction. Did you expect anything less?

Brent has Q&A games he plays with people repeatedly. With children, he loves to ask, “What is your favorite thing in the whole wide world?” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He asks the same children time and again, and gets a quick chuckle out of their evolving answers. “Gold.” “A paper airplane.” With me, he often asks “What would you do in that space?” “What would you put in that empty store front?” And my answer is always, “a family-community center.”

My heart and soul have been fixed on developing a resource space for the community. A place where people gather, play, and learn together. A family friendly space that offered up the riches of children’s museums and the freshness of a botanical garden, without the memberships and entrance fees. A center where you could borrow toys, take classes, sip smoothies with your friends, and check out materials that supported a healthier, wiser planet, community, and lifestyle.

Here in Huntington I am choosing to combine my love of community service with retail. Initially I was struggling with advertising, marketing and the general idea of material goods, to which I don’t have a full grasp of understanding and generally avoid. Then I took stock of the things I do purchase. The things I was seeking to bring into my home, during a time in my life where I was cutting back on spending and eliminating multiple layers of clutter (visual, physical, time, emotional). I realized I was purchasing better quality products, that were made from natural materials, could be reused, and were cultivating a healthier future for our family and community. These same products were conversation points with strangers and friends. “Where did you find ____ (pick any: those cloth diapers, that klean kanteen, a cloth pad, your Moby wrap, the kid’s sandwich bags)?”

For our region, the answer is often “online.” The second most common answer, is “this little shop where I ______ (pick one: used to live, visit family, took a vacation, went for the weekend).”

This was an opportunity. This week I finally announced my intentions of organizing a natural family retail-resource. It won’t be a community mecca, but it will be a quaint, family friendly space that has the material needs this community is seeking combined with the educational, social space that will provide fellowship. My intention is to allow the retail side support the services and resources, so they can be offered for free.

Kith & Kin Junction is in the pen and paper stage of development. I have outlined the following pitch and will be presenting my concept at Huddleston Bolen (611 3rd Avenue, Huntington) Wednesday October 17 at noon. Please join us for the Entrepreneurs’ Cafe lunch, and the opportunity to support a project that has the potential to return the investment to the thousands of families and their friends in the Tri-State region. Just being there demonstrates a desire for this store. It will help me connect with you and your needs. Purchasing lunch for $15 will also give you a vote. $5 for your meal, $10 to the winning presenter. Yes, I am asking for your help, and I will be asking again.

Kith & Kin Junction concept:

Kith & Kin Junction is a new business endeavor for the Tri-State region, focused on providing pregnancy and parenting resources to families, providers, educators, and the community. This limited liability company (llc.) retail location supports a strong community service and education component that is currently established through agencies, health care workers, midwives and doulas, art centers, sensory therapist, libraries, referral agencies, child care providers, Success by 6 initiatives, wellness centers, individuals, and parents. The retail shop will carry materials such as breast feeding supplies (bras, covers, pads, pillows, pumps, storage containers), reusable diapering supplies (covers, cloth inserts, wet bags, diaper detergents), natural, sustainable items (glass bottles, stainless steel storage, wood and mineral teethers), reusable menstrual care products, baby wearing merchandise, early literacy education materials, laboring tools, and books. A community room would be made available to all partnering agencies and individuals for play groups, workshops, education, coffee dates, parties, and private classes.

The space anticipates six phases to include:

  1. merchandise, children’s art gallery and community resource publications
  2. rental services (diapers, breast pumps, baby wearing, birthing tubs, balls) and community room
  3. lending library (toys, books, videos)
  4. home consultation and hospital visits (lactation support, bra sizing, community services)
  5. expansion of classes, indoor and outdoor sensory play spaces, pick up and delivery diaper services (by bicycle, of course!)
  6. partnership with a wellness food provider

Every phase will incorporate many established community agencies and resources. The directive is to support the current operations of the community. For example, in phase one, community resource lists will be exhaustive and shared with Tri-State Family magazine and other local publications. Merchandise will be tailored to meet the needs most in demand by providers and families (gathered by attending the numerous support groups in our region, talking to providers and surveying the community). The children’s art gallery will be a professionally finished exhibition of local children creations who participate in any number of classes (Dream Watercolor, Renaissance, Huntington Museum of Art, public and private schools), individuals, and child care providers. The gallery will embellish the site to reflect the children and families who are utilizing services and merchandise.

So, it is with leaving this information to you, that I leave for Louisville tomorrow. I am attending an industry trade show/expo where I will return with sample products and brands, a wealth of knowledge and new relationships. You can follow my progress in this endeavor on Twitter (@KithKinJunction) or Facebook, as my husband just picked out a new black iPhone 4s for me today, and I hooked Kith & Kin Junction up with its own accounts (logo is in beta). I enjoy the behind the scenes stuff, so maybe you do as well.

Bicycling and simple (ahem…we all know it’s not always simple) living family things are still under A Simple Six, and the business will carry its own weight elsewhere. I even registered a domain (currently directs you to Brent’s website) www.kithkinjunction.com. Hope this isn’t too confusing. I think it is appropriate to separate them at their core, but have them intersect where they affect my family and I the most.

Shew, I was so nervous about sharing all this with you today. I am all ears and eyes for suggestions and ideas, anytime.

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Some bikey updates that will read like a sales flyer:
While I am away, Brent is carfree with four kids! He’s getting some help from my dad and our friends.

Brent’s mtb is on loan to friends for the week, and they promised to come borrow my Yuba too.

I ordered a breadbasket for my cargo bike, and the very generous reader Nicole, has taken it upon herself to make a custom liner for the basket. Both will be here later this week, and installed! I can’t wait to show you all, because she is also writing the tutorial for AS6 & Yuba!

Elliot must have grown an inch or two. He rode the 24in bike for the first time this week. It was a big transition for him, not just for size, but this bike has gearing. We did a two mile ride and worked on listening and feeling the shift of the rear derailleur. This may change his life.

Brent’s been off the bike for just over a week now. He had a vasectomy, and despite my pleading with him to let me courier him around on the Yuba deck, I shuttled him about in the van. Made for an interesting week, and some funny posts on Facebook. “Was downtown in the van, couldn’t find parking, drove home and returned on the bike. #truestory” He promised he would write up a blog post about his surgery and how it has affected his bicycle riding. I will hold him to it.

List of bikey things for sale…stop now, unless you want to be solicited to even more than you already have…

If you are in the market for a Bobike Junior seat, ours is for sale. Installed and then never used (bought another Yuba instead). $175, free shipping in the USA. I was going to work up a Craig’s Listing or Ebay post, and might yet.

When the L 29″ GT Korakoram mtb returns next weekend, it is going on the market as well. $500, includes the extra road tires. Again, might get that up on a listing site, but I like you all, and this is easier. Not a thing wrong with it, we just bought another Yuba :)

Oh, and while I am at it, we have a beautiful vintage Olmo that needs a bottom bracket and maybe some other things. If I can figure out enough about it, it’s for sale too. It’s been sitting on the fireplace mantle too long.

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9 thoughts on “A Departure (of Huntington, of unemployment, of bikey things)”

  1. Exciting stuff!! You would love the Kinder Café concepts here – more about that by email sometime soon.

    I hope Brent feels better soon and that he can ride comfortably when he needs to – it’s an operation that is not quite as easy to bounce back from than one might think…

    good luck to all this week!

    1. I know I would love the Kinder Cafes! Yet, small town, calls for smaller concepts, so I hope to grow this with the community. I am excited to be able to offer breastfeeding support, because WV (no shocker here) ranks in the bottom of nursing mothers/babies. This is an opportunity to give back in one of the largest ways, while I still whittle on the bicycle front (darn, I should have mentioned my involvement with a state committee to change legislation!…next time.) Thank you so much, & stay warm 😉

  2. I’m so late to this but this sounds amazing! I so hope this moves forward the way you’ve envisioned it! I would definitely take advantage of a place like that and would have really appreciated it when I was a brand new mom (the breastfeeding/lactation services in particular, cloth diapers, etc).

    I have often lamented that we need something like a Kinder Cafe here in our town. Once it’s cold, there is no where to go with our toddlers but the library (which just shut down this week for remodel and will be in a temporary store front in a strip mall for the next 18 months!! Ugh!!).

    When our group of several parents take our kids to one of the cafes in town, we usually get some ennoyed looks and feel like we spend the whole time trying to keep them entertained in high chairs and from disturbing the other customers who are reading, quietly chatting, working, etc, but where else can we meet? We usually go to parks all summer/fall/spring but there are rainy days and cold days when you need an indoor space where the kids can play and the adults can sip a cup of coffee and chat.

    It’s something that’s soooo sorely missing from smaller towns. Although I don’t know why since parents EVERYWHERE seek the company of other adults and parents and kids everywhere can’t be expected to behave like mini adults for several hours. (Or even minutes, at times). They need a space with a few toys and carpet space to run around while the parents can watch them but also relax and spend time with other parents.

    Anyway, that’s my rant. I wish you were opening up something like this in our town! :) I’m excited to follow the progress here and on the other site you linked to!

    1. Thank you! I am a very slow worker (as I have mentioned) but I like to think that in my slowness comes a lot of thought and planning. The ideas are taking shape and connections being made. (and we have a good Uni here, if you are looking for jobs… :) )

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