- Natalie Stephenson
What kinds of things will customers find at Stone Soup?
We're all about what kids need most. We also cater to what parents are looking for, which is quality merchandise: wooden educational toys, upper brands, good books, all those things kids need growing up.
What are some of your best bargains?
Probably the brand names at 75 percent off retail. A Patagonia jacket is a great investment living in a climate like Bend's, but your kid might outgrow it in one season.
What do your customers say they like best about the store?
Our regular customers rely on us to inspect the items we sell. Feedback I get a lot is that they don't have to go through everything with a fine-toothed comb.
How have you adapted to the climate of the pandemic, and what are your hopes for the future?
We are looking forward to being back to our heydays. The play area is so loved by the kids, and we had to close that off. We look forward to being able to see our customers face to face again, without the masks.
We saw a huge drop in business with the pandemic, and I can't thank my customers enough. When we first had to close, many people reached out with phone calls and messages asking how they could help, how they could support us through it. I also want to give a big thanks to the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), which provided a grant that allowed us to remain open. December and January were horrible for retail.
Why do you think parents voted Stone Soup Best of the Nest?
For sure because of the quality. People say it's like a retail store. It's clean and organized. We've grown mostly by word of mouth, so we don't do much advertising – but we have customers coming in from California and Washington. People google us and see the high ratings. I've never loved what I do as much as I love this. I get a lot of joy from meeting all the local people and families.
Stone Soup Kids
1740 NW Pence Lane, Bend