Eagle County: Children allowed at kid-friendly downvalley businesses | VailDaily.com

Eagle County: Children allowed at kid-friendly downvalley businesses

Eagle Valley EnterpriseCi Ci Franklin wraps a gift at Kidtopia in Eagle, one of the downvalley regions most kid-friendly locales.

EAGLE, Colorado –In an area where the median age is only 31 years and young families dominate the demographic, it just makes sense for Eagle and Gypsum businesses to be kid-friendly.

The numbers alone demonstrate the point. Eagle County Schools reports that more than 3,000 students are enrolled in kindergarten through 12 grade in the Eagle and Gypsum areas. That’s a large block of citizens who need everything from clothing to toys to recreational options.

From the kids clothing corner tucked into the back of a local clothing store to the claw machines and train tracks set up at a local restaurant, area retailers and restaurateurs are catering to kids more than ever.

“I have kids and I know that you take them with you,” said Erin Seabury, owner of Everyday Outfitters on Broadway. “If you want to shop, you need to have a place for kids to play in the back. That’s why we did it. Now we have kids who say they want to go to play at ‘Ms. Erin’s shop.'”

That’s just one example of how children are allowed, and actually encouraged, to visit local businesses. Here’s some more businesses and programs that are keeping themselves busy by making kids welcome.

Ci Ci Franklin had no retail experience when she opened Kidtopia in Eagle eight years ago. What she did have was good mom-sense.

“We moved to Eagle in 1997 and after a few years, I started thinking about a toy store,” she said. “We were living here and we really thought there was room for it in the community.”

Franklin, the mother of two boys, knew first-hand about the booming number of kids in the community. And where there are kids, there are birthday parties to buy for. Franklin figured the demographics supported her dream.

Franklin has deliberately stocked her shelves with lots of gifts in the $15 price range. She also has a book corner, infant items and stuffed animals. Kidtopia’s merchandise reflects a lot of project toys – things to build or decorate.

From the time she opened the business, Franklin figured local families, with their active lifestyles, would enjoy more outdoory toys. Thus squirt guns and jump ropes and other outdoor toys dominate an entire section of the store.

Even within the confines of her toy shop, which is by its very nature a kid-friendly spot, Franklin has dedicated floor space to make children happy. A train set and doll house table can be found right inside the door so kids can play while parents shop. Franklin planned it that way, so parents can have as much fun as their children when they come through Kidtopia’s front door.

Riley and Brian Campion came to Eagle County from Dallas for a Daddy-daughter date weekend.

The daddy-daughter duo drove from Avon to Eagle to paint some pottery at Dewey Dabbles, the paint-your-own-pottery store, located next to The Back Bowl.

“You get to paint. And I like to paint,” said Riley, a 6, who was working on a pumpkin candle holder for Halloween. “I get to put a candle in it,” she added with a smile.

“I like to come paint pottery because my daughter likes to,” said Brian, who was painting a tea cup for his other daughter at home.

Tourists are not Dewey Dabbles only customers. Locals also frequent this pottery store. Owner Jennifer Kennedy said she has regular customers who come in as an after-school activity. Kennedy also encourages parents to drop there children off while they go do errands.

“It is a warm, safe environment for kids,” said Kennedy. “And we don’t have the television going and we have great conversations.”

“It brings out the kids creativity,” added Lauren Sullivan, a Dewey Dabbles employee.

Dewey Dabbles also hosts birthday parties. Some people choose to do the whole birthday party shebang at the Dewey Dabbles store, while others choose to have a slumber party or a party at home and paint pottery as one of the activities, said Sullivan.

Pottery also makes for good gifts.

“People do hand and footprints of their babies for presents,” said Kennedy.

With Christmas only two months away, Sullivan emphasized that Dewey Dabbles is perfect for Christmas presents.

“Parents can go shopping or have a parents evening out while their kids make them Christmas presents that their parents won’t have to see,” said Sullivan.

Dewey Dabbles has pottery pieces that range in price from $1 to $85.

“It is definitely an affordable activity for everyone,” said Sullivan. “It is a good activity in this economy. You can come in with a budget and stick to it.”

For more information call 970-328-7687

A few doors down from Dewey Dabbles is another child friendly place- the Back Bowl, the local bowling alley.

“We started the Back Bowl with the focus of kids and families,” said general manager Doug Cahill.

The lanes have bumpers so children, or exceptionally bad bowlers, can hit pins every time.

“Even 2-year-olds can get into the action using ball ramps. Kids can just place the ball on it and it rolls the ball down the lane and they get the thrill of seeing the pins fall down,” said Cahill.

Kids can also enjoy one of the largest arcades in the area at the Back Bowl.

The Back Bowl is a popular venue for birthday parties.

“Kids love having there birthday parties here. It is actually fun for all ages,” said Cahill.

Cahill added that parents can enjoy a nice sit down meal at the Bowlmor Cafe while their kids run off and bowl or play video games.

For more information call 970-328-BOWL(2695)

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