View Full Version : Best specialty stores

06-09-2004, 06:34 PM
Hey Alan and Denise,
I noticed in several editions of your books that you go out of your way to discuss the merits of Burlington Coat, Babies R us, Target, etc. and also list a bunch of specific internet sites that are noteworthy. But you never wrote about any specific specialty stores. Instead you lump them into one category. It would be great if you highlighted the best, biggest, highest profile specialty stores in the bigger cities. When we lived in NY, I would have loved a guide to the better stores in the marketplace. There have got to be Flagship specialty stores in major cities. With your vast contacts in the baby industry, it should not be too hard to compile a list from manufacturers and reps. Thanks

06-15-2004, 01:49 PM
I agree. You spend alot of time discussing the "big boxes" like Burlington and BRU, but hardly touch on specialty stores. It's the specialty stores where consumers find the best service and definetely the best sales help.I would never make an important purchase anywhere but a local baby specialty store. If you can find help at BRU, they are like robots. Forget about Burlington.
You have a great book. Best of luck with the new release.

06-17-2004, 03:00 PM
I think the thing about baby specality stores is that they are *local*. Everyone does not live in a big city. Heck, everyone does not live in a small city, or for that matter even a town. I live in the middle of nowhere, not even a BRU or Baby Depot in sight. I would be a little annoyed if I purchased a book that had lots of info about local stores in big cities. I think Alan and Denise cover brands that are carried by specialty stores quite in depth. Perhaps Alan and Densie could consider this as one of their "downloadable packets" they may be working on, that would have info tailored to specific cities. But, IMHO, too much info on big city specialty stores would be a turn off for some of us.

mom to Jacob 9/27/02

06-21-2004, 04:51 PM

Thanks for using the forum. And thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately, the logistics of trying to review and write about the best specialty stores in different cities would be a difficult at best. The other concern we have is keeping it current. Stores can change locations, go out of business, even be sold to new owners pretty frequently.

Perhaps a solution would be to create a section of our web site where users could comment on local specialty stores by city.

What do you think?

Denise and Alan Fields

06-29-2004, 12:33 AM
I also agree. When we went to try to find baby furniture, we quickly found out how lame the customer service is at Babies R Us and at Baby Depot. If the sales help was that misinformed, then it was safe to assume the customer service- if we had a problem- was probably equally bad. I would think it would not be too hard to compile a list of the top 20-40 baby specialty stores in the US. Maybe by size, reputation, and service. I would think your friends at the different manufacturers could easily assist you.
Your book seems to steer consumers to the chain stores when everyone knows- if you want to get knowledgeable sales help, the best place to go is NOT BRU.

06-29-2004, 02:17 PM
Well, we hear you. We will certainly consider donig that.

Just for the record: we don't steer consumers only to chain stores. We talk about many products that are most often found in smaller indie stores.

But there is a reality here: MOST folks shop at stores like Babies R Us, Target, etc. Or online. When we recommend a product, we have to make sure it is widely available. There are a good number of towns where the ONLY options to buy baby gear is at the chains. Wish that wasn't the case, but just the way it is!

Alan & Denise

06-29-2004, 03:06 PM
I think it would add more depth to your book. You could concentrate on the top 10 major metropolitan markets- LA, DC/Baltimore, Miami, NY city, Boston, Chicago, etc.
I bet if you checked, the vast majority of BRU's are located in these major metro markets. And as for your point of the independants not having many of the products,if you listed the major independants- they probably would have as much as a BRU. AS a side note, the majority of the money we spent was spent on products our local BRU did not even sell. Thanks for the listen.

06-30-2004, 04:23 PM
I've seen chat boards (wedding related, actually) that are city-specific, and people just head to the one that is closest to them. It works out pretty well and doesn't seem to require much maintenance from the webmasters... (see theknot dot com, click on talk and local)

06-30-2004, 05:44 PM
There are lots of people that don't live any where near those major markets. I live 1 hour of Nashville. Atlanta is 8 hours away, Chicago is 8 hours away, Indianapolis and Cincinnati are 4 hours away, thus those chapters would be useless. I think if the Fields concentrate on brands, then everyone could find them either in chain stores, independent stores, or online.

06-30-2004, 06:17 PM
I also strongly agree with the poster. I was a consumer with 2 children first, and now work at a childrens specialty retailer. I can give you a long list of top selling manufacturers who you will find listed and discussed all over this message board and were covered and rated in your book. A few examples are:
Pali( "A" rating), Bonavita("A" rating- BRU only has Baby Italia, Sorrelle("A" rating), RT(your #1 furniture choice and best buy), Bugaboo strollers, upper end Medela breast pumps, Mother Hubbards Cupboards("A" rating), Alta Baby, Morigeau, Raggazi, Legacy, Best Chairs, 99% off the Dutailier glider line, Natart, Vermont Precision, Perego upper end line Martinelli, Little Castle gliders, Phil and Ted's Stroller company, the complete Britax line(BRU only carries a very limited number), Mustela, Colgate(yours and Consumer reports #1 mattress),EG, AP, Maclaren, Dreamer Design joggers, Zooper, Silver Cross, Inglessina, and many more.
None of these are found in BRU or Baby Depot. Most consumers in major metro markets are probably buying from these manufacturers and yet none are available at BRU or Baby Depot. Just a thought.
Have enjoyed your book for the pasts 8 years. Thanks.

07-01-2004, 12:12 PM
We have lived in both a rural area where shopping was limited, and now in a major metro market. The addition of a section that highlighted the best specialty stores in the US would be a great addition to your book. As for the argument that there might not be a baby specialty store in every town- I don't think that was the posters intent. It was to highlight the cream of the crop when it comes to size and service. If you live near one,great. I do not live close to a BRU! If it was an issue to only review products that are sold at BRU and Baby Depot-both have deplorable service- then logically a large percentage of the products in your book would have to be eliminated. I was surprised at the other posting that showed all the manufacturers that only sold to baby specialty stores. Luckily we had the ability to buy some of those.

August Mom
07-10-2004, 11:07 AM
I could go either way on this one. Most of us who visit this site will locate the product we want if we really want it. I've travelled all over creation tracking down high chairs, strollers and tables and chairs. However, I think that if you did highlight independents, it would make sense to not just do so in the largest metropolitan areas, but to identify those that are really above average (regardless of location) in product selection/quality and service. For example, there's a store in Maryland owned by 2 women that's often mentioned regarding the Mountain Buggy (the name is escaping me right now). They provide exceptional service apparently, so people like going there. I've gone to Babyland in Pittsburgh, PA several times. It's not an attractive store, but they have tons of high-end, non-mass-market baby items and run great sales. The sales staff is friendly and familiar with the items they carry and willing to call the companies to find out more information if you need them too. I think if you were going to do this, you would probably have to rely on readers/message board users to provide you with names and experiences.