For many parents, running errands with kids in tow is complicated. Strolling around the mall with a crying baby or a clingy toddler is stressful.
When Nicole Douglas talked to her husband, Stony, about how difficult it was to shop without her kids demanding her attention, they came up with an idea. What if they started a reliable short-term drop-in daycare service that allowed parents and caregivers the chance to take time for themselves by shopping, eating out or seeing a movie? The business idea started to take shape and in July of this year, Nicole and Stony established Mall Nanny, a 3,000-square-foot drop-in daycare business located inside Vancouver Mall.
“We both have worked in local healthcare systems for many years, myself in food service management after attending culinary school and Stony as a surgery technician, which he still currently does part time,” Nicole said. “I had been a stay-at-home mom for over a year leading up to the opening of Mall Nanny. We both have had experience working with children in various roles over the years and have children of our own, which helps a lot.”
Mall Nanny provides drop-in daycare services for kids ages 2 to 8 years old, where kids can play on various play structures, read books, watch movies, create different arts or crafts, or participate in special events like story or music time.
“We are very unique as there isn’t anything like this in the area, and there aren’t many daycares in general that offer drop in,” Nicole said. “There are play places inside grocery stores and gyms, but they are usually a lot smaller in size and some don’t have the safety guidelines that we have in place. We also clean our space daily with non-toxic natural cleaners so they are safe for the kiddos, and we offer only healthy snacks.”
Mall Nanny currently employs four part-time employees that are CPR-certified and First Aid-trained. Each employee comes with years of experience working with all ages of children.
“It’s important to us as parents that we provide top notch ‘nannies’ for our community,” Nicole said. “The team at Mall Nanny also takes safety seriously and offers a strict check-in and check-out process with a wristband system. They will also check photo identification to make sure children leave with the parents that they came with.”
Recently, Mall Nanny began offering baby and toddler playgroups that meet on a weekly basis in addition to providing birthday party rentals where parents can rent just a room or the entire play space. In August, the company started Saturday movie night service, with three-hour babysitting slots available. Looking toward the holiday season, Nicole anticipates that more and more people will learn about their services and that the increase of shoppers at the mall will help bring in repeat, steady business.
“We want Mall Nanny to be an important tool for the parents of Clark County, so they can utilize us to help make parenthood a little easier,” Nicole said of plans for Mall Nanny’s future. “If we continue to be successful, we would eventually love to branch out with a Mall Nanny location in Portland.”
For new families that may be interested in hiring Mall Nanny, Nicole encourages them to check out the Mall Nanny Facebook page or website at http://www.mall-nanny.com/ for specials or upcoming events.
“We just really hope parents will give us a try, and see how convenient it is for them and how fun it is for their children,” Nicole said.