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Everyone knows about the big baby chain stores, but until I became a parent a little over a year ago, I never realized how many great LOCAL children’s stores there are.  If you are an expectant parent or already have a little one, any local store can provide great deals and may have exactly what you have been looking for.

These are my Top 5 local stores for "All Things Baby". Please don’t let the unfamiliarity of these places scare you away. I promise taking a trip to any one of these places will have you wanting to visit more and more when you need something for you child.


1. Sofia Bella

Sofia Bella is a quaint little boutique tucked away on Monroe Center in downtown Grand Rapids. The store is named after its favorite model, and owner’s daughter, Sofia. Owned and operated by a local West Michigan mother, this shop offers a variety of bright, loud and posh clothing for both girls and boys. The owners passion for fashion and hip unique designs greet you the moment you step foot in the boutique. Clothing sizes range from baby, to toddler, to kids. Some of my fiances favorites are obviously the unique tutus and leg warmers for girls that come in crazy animal prints for under $30! The owner puts her own little touch on the packaging also. Every tutu gets put in a zebra print box to be taken home to its new owner, my fiance loves that. Sofia Bella is definitely the spot to hit to avoid buying the same old gift. More info can be found at sofiabellacouture.com or look for the boutique and pictures on Facebook.

2. Snapdragon

Voted the Best Children’s Store by the Readers of Grand Rapids Magazine in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011... Snapdragon offers a wide variety of clothing, accessories, and footwear for infants and all the way up to juniors. Located in the Gas light Village, in East Grand Rapids, Snapdragon carries over 80 different brand names. My favorites here are the shoes! From brands like Morgan and Milo, Livie and Luca, and See Kai Run you are bound to find something very original! Snapdragon can be found on Facebook or at their website snapdragonboutique.com.

3. Hop Scotch Children’s Store

Hop Scotch Children’s Store can be found right on Cherry Street in Grand Rapids, but if you blink you just might miss it. I drove past it for a year before my fiance pointed it out. After checking the stores story out online, we decided we had to stop in. This shop is part of the movement for staying around town and shopping local. They specialize in locally crafted items, allowing customers to feel a special connection with their purchases. Another way they stay connected to the community is through the free activities for kids and families that they offer every Monday at 10:30am. In store they carry everything from soaps for sensitive skin to name puzzles. “Good for Environment” items like organic onesies and cloth diapers can also be found at the Hop Scotch Children's Store. They also have great classes for parents like Sage Birth Materni-tea, Cloth diapers-Make the Change, and The Right Baby Carrier for you. You can sign up for these classes and preview some of their locally produced products on their website hopscotchstore.com or on their Facebook page.

4. Busy Mommy of 5

Busy Mommy of 5, is a business that a local woman runs out of her home, fueled by her love for crocheting. With winter here, some of my fiances favorites from her collections are the crocheted monkey hats, as monkey is my daughter's theme. Her infectious designs and use of the perfect colored yarn, gave my fiance thoughts of wanting buy one of everything. Most of the designs sell for less than $10 which catches any penny pinching parent’s eye! Find her on Facebook or visit her online store at etsy.com/shop/busymommyof5#

5. littlePosh

My fiance overheard about littlePosh in line at the grocery store while i was buying some snacks for the football game. As obsessed as my fiancé is with ALL things baby, she looked at their website as soon as we made it home. Immediately the website plays an cool version of the Guns N’ Roses song "Sweet Child O’ Mine". They sparked my interest with song choice, I'm a typical radio DJ huh? littlePosh is a resale shop located just off from I-96 on Plainfield Ave. They sell gently used items ranging from maternity, to kids clothing, to all sorts of baby gear. You can even sell your gently used items at littlePosh as well. They put your items in store for 60 days, and if your items sell, then you get paid. The consignment stores that are not well know, like this one, can offer better selections and a better overall experience versus some of the huge chain stores. The atmosphere and pricing here will keep me coming back even after my little monkey is born. Check out their website for more information at littleposhgr.com.

Hope this provides information to any expectant parent who likes to help out the local businesses while getting some pretty good things for your little one as well.