Welcome, Kiddos: New toy store opens in town

Welcome, Kiddos: New toy store opens in town

Cumberland resident Lisa Gomes will open her children's toy and book store, Kiddos, at 3383 Mendon Road, Cumberland, this weekend. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

CUMBERLAND – Lifelong Cumberland resident Lisa Gomes, 41, made the bold decision to leave behind her 20-year career as a preschool teacher to open her own small business in the town she was raised. She said she’s hoping to fulfill a need in the community by opening Kiddos, a toy and bookstore at 3383 Mendon Road.

“But it’s so much more than that,” Gomes said, offering a peek into the fresh new space, located in the same building as Irmgard’s Salon & Spa and Domino’s Pizza. “This to me is an experience … a place where kids can read, get creative and have fun.”

With two studio spaces, Gomes plans to offer activities ranging from yoga and Zumba to music programs and art-themed birthday parties. The store will also have a designated story-time area where Gomes will read two to three times each week.

“I’ve really missed being in the classroom,” she said. “My favorite activities to do were literacy-related, sounding out letters to reading and acting-out stories.”

Using her background in early childhood education, Gomes hand-selected every book and toy that will be sold at Kiddos.

“I was so, so careful in the products and brands I chose to carry. I wanted them to encourage a child’s development,” she said. “There’s so much a child can take away from any simple toy. All of our toys are educational.”

Gomes said she made a philosophical choice early on in the process not to carry any digital or tablet-related toys or games, hoping to instead inspire imaginative play and encourage interaction.

“Play has gotten lost over the years,” she said. “I want kids to revert back and just play, and provide experiences and toys that will help them regain social skills.”

She has chosen books that include multicultural and ethnically diverse characters and books that empower young girls. Gomes said she would not carry toys featuring licensed characters.

“I want to carry things that are not found in typical stores – if you’re looking for something unique, I wanted to be that store,” she said. “The only way a toy store can compete with Amazon is by providing an experience they can’t.”

There is no adult merchandise: The store is solely dedicated to its namesake demographic: Kiddos (ages 0-10). Gomes said she took care to stock a good selection of toddler merchandise, as many toys are for ages 3 and up.

Even the physical space is geared toward children, with anchored shelving, bright colors and a large wooden tree in the story-time area.

“Safety was so important. Everything we have here is childproof,” she said. “I really wanted a well-thought-out space.”

Kiddos will offer day and evening yoga sessions for 3- to 7-year-olds, music and movement class for 3- to 5-year-olds, and Zumba Kids Jr. for ages 4-6, Zumba Kids for ages 6-8 and Zumbini for children younger than 4.

In a separate creative space, Kiddos will host art birthday parties, open studio nights to paint plaster figurines and paint with watercolors, and other scheduled craft nights.

“It’s going to be a one-stop shop. … We’ll be a full-service kids destination,” Gomes said. “I think something like this is long overdue.”

Kiddos will open its doors to the public this weekend, on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store will host a Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ordinary hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit kiddosri.com or Kiddos RI on Facebook.