By MIA BASS
It’s evident from stepping in her store that Linda Flaherty loves providing parents new and experienced with everything they need to care for infants. The Once Upon A Time owner greets parents at the entrance to her sea of pale pink and sky blue by speaking softly to babies in their arms. “Let me have a peek,” she says.
From infant and toddler clothes to diaper bags and furniture, Once Upon A Time sells a selection of items to create a nursery escape for baby. “It’s a little bit of everything,” Flaherty said. The shop offers gifts for baby showers including blankets, stuffed toys, diaper bags and baby carriers. For the summer, there is a wide selection of bathing suits with ruffles and seersucker detailing.
Although Flaherty and her daughter, Sarah Bailey, are very at home in their location at 201 Country Club Park, they haven’t always been here. She opened Nursery Décor in 1994. At the store, Flaherty brought her love of sewing to the forefront and began designing and making custom nursery linens.
The shop officially became Once Upon A Time in 1996 and moved around different locations in Crestline Village as the needs of Flaherty’s shoppers grew. As item variety grew, Bailey came on board with her mother. She worked at the shop while she was in college and jokes that it wasn’t time to have a baby yet so she had to go her own way. “I was ready to be a grandmother, but she wasn’t ready to be a mother,” Flaherty said with a laugh.
When Bailey found it was time to have a family of her own, she started at Once Upon A Time as store manager and buyer. As the pair entered 2009, they saw an opportunity in the Homewood community and opened a second location in downtown Homewood. This is when Bailey became part-owner with her mother. “It’s great to be able to share this experience with my mom,” said Bailey.
Flaherty’s favorite part about her job? “It may be the hardest, but buying,” Flaherty said. The mother-daughter pair select each item found in the shop. They strive for good variety in product and price point.
The two treasure the relationship they have with each of their customers and realize the importance of friendships. “Some people come in and say, ‘I don’t even have a baby, but I had to come in!’” Flaherty said. Mothers on baby number four still find something they need at Once Upon A Time.
This duo not only looks to improve their own store but also for ways to get involved in the community. This year was their third to assist in sponsoring the Crestline Easter Egg Hunt. They also donate to the Junior League. “We like to help organizations that help kids,” Sarah said. Once Upon A Time also served as a drop-off site for tornado relief supplies. Baby items were sometimes overlooked in the aftermath of the April 27 tornadoes, so the store collected diapers and other items for those impacted.
So if it’s the once upon a time for you or someone you love, stop by the shop for something to make this special time a little more magical.
201 Country Club Park 870-7772 Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.