St. Johns Center For Opportunity is focused on elevating our small business community, along with community engagement, workforce development and housing advocacy. As our neighborhood businesses grow and change, we want to highlight both the new and established businesses that make up our community. Twice a month, we’ll be highlighting the stories of business owners in the community. Are you a business owner that would like to be interviewed? Do you want to hear the story of a particular business in St. Johns? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, we’re highlighting Bridge City Kid, one of the new businesses in downtown St. Johns. Opened in April of 2017, Bridge City Kid is an outdoor store exclusively for kids located at 8402 N. Lombard Street. Business owner Chelsea grew up in Portland and was always seeking adventure in natural spaces. When she became a parent 5 years ago, she wondered if she could keep that spirit of outdoor adventure alive while still being a “good parent”. She didn’t see many models of how to take babies and kids on adventures in nature, instead she saw an emphasis on constant technological stimulation and staying indoors. She wanted there to be something different, a model that could help parents and kids connect with nature from very early ages, to explore the wildness and beauty of nature together.
This was the belief that Bridge City Kid was built upon: to create a space that encourages kids and parents to get outdoors and discover new things from a young age, so she created a retail space where kids are front and center in the shopping experience for socially conscious outdoor retail products. Bridge City Kid is the first outdoor store for kids of its kind and it’s right here in our neighborhood! As many outdoor retailers reduce their children’s product inventory, she is building a retail space specifically for kids. In addition, she envisions it becoming a community gathering space for families, where they can meet to hike with kids in Forest Park and listen to live music in the winter months. She encourages everyone to come shop and play!
You may have seen the sign in the window: All Profits to Charity and thought, how is that possible? It’s a new approach to business that Chelsea calls retail non-profit. Like any new way of doing business, there has been some confusion about the business model. As she explains it, the business model is that after she pays her own salary, she will donate all after-tax profits to environmental and local non-profits working to get youth outside. She plans to start a 501(c)(3) non-profit to manage the donations so that all contributions from the business are fully transparent and available to the public. In addition to selecting socially conscious products to carry in the store, she seeks to create a business model that gives back in all aspects.
These adorable onsies are made by a local artist Carved Life, who donates 10% of each purchase to Doernbecher Children's Hospital!
What’s next for Bridge City Kid? Chelsea is excited to continue to build community with families in St. Johns. There are plans to build a rock climbing wall in the space and host movie nights for families in the winter months. Chelsea is collaborating with Hike It Baby to start hosting family hikes in Forest Park that leave from the shop. She would also like to build up a youth outdoor rentals program where you could rent kid outdoor equipment including snow shoes, wake boards and more for your outdoor adventures!
Some things you might not know about Bridge City Kid:
- The space was a grocery store and an antique store previously. Chelsea is committed to sharing the story of the space with clients and maintaining the unique, wild spirit of the St. Johns community while leveraging our amazing proximity to natural spaces like Forest Park and the Columbia Slough!
- They have a consignment section and are looking to build up their inventory! Bring in your lightly used outdoor gear for youth aged 0-14 and receive 45% cash or store credit, which is higher than most consignment store rates!
- Kids can play while you shop. Try out products like bikes, soft Frisbees, skateboards and more!
- Bridge City Kid is a Burley dealer, so you can bring in your Burley stroller for repairs, parts and pieces, questions about your warranty or new purchases of strollers and bike trailers.
Welcome Chelsea and Bridge City Kid to the neighborhood by coming to their Grand Opening Celebration on September 17th from 11 am-7 pm. There will be live music, food, drinks and lots of fun products to try out with your kids!