Today’s interview is with small business owner Karen Chipman of North Reading. Kare is a mom of three grown children and owner of Stork Ready, a small business that provides classes and support to new and expecting parents. Karen has a wealth of experience to draw on when teaching parents, after working in Labor and Delivery Units at area hospitals for more than 30 years. This year she also added event planner to her resume with the (hopefully) upcoming Bump to Baby Expo, which was rescheduled from March to June 2020. Keep reading to learn more about Karen!
What is the name of your business and where is it located?
Stork Ready, located at 217 Main Street in North Reading.
What is your name and what town do you and your family live in?
My name is Karen Chipman and I live in North Reading. My husband, Dave, and son, Kurt, are the owners of Chipman Finished Carpentry and I also have two daughters: Alexandra, who works full time and also runs a miniature horse rescue, Home at Last Farm, at her home in Raymond, New Hampshire. And, Sarah, who runs her own dog walking/sitting business, Sarah Lou’s Pet Services.
What type of goods or services do you provide?
Stork Ready provides much needed classes and support groups for new and expecting parents in the community. We offer Childbirth, Newborn Essentials, Breastfeeding and Infant CPR classes for expecting parents and our support groups include breastfeeding, sleep and our very popular Mommy Cafe for new parents. We have been honored to watch so many new and lasting friendships form from these groups.
How long have you been in business?
Stork Ready has been in business for 6 years in March. I’ve been working as a Surgical Technologist in Labor & Delivery units for 31 years as well as teaching childbirth classes for 29 years. I started at Melrose Wakefield Hospital 31 years ago and worked there for 20 years. When not in the operating room I would help women in labor…probably thousands of women in total. It became my true passion and that is why I opened Stork Ready.
In addition to running Stork Ready I also currently work in Labor & Delivery at Mass General Hospital. I’m honored to be at one of the best hospitals in the world. When asked if I will ever leave and devote myself full-time to Stork Ready my answer has always been easy, ” I will never leave, I am a teacher and what better place to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in labor and birth, than working at one of the best teaching hospitals?”
Why did you choose to open a business on the North Shore?
North Reading was a perfect location for my business. It’s easily accessible from Rt 93, 128 and 495. Many clients come from the North Shore, as well as Southern New Hampshire and Boston areas.
How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted your business?
COVID-19 has had an immense impact on Stork Ready. We are considered a nonessential business so we have, and will remain, closed with the exception of our virtual classes and support groups.
Are you currently offering any delivery, shipping or curbside pick-up of your goods or services?
We are offering all of our classes as well as support groups virtually. In order to protect our moms and babies our groups are private. If you would like to join it’s simple. Head over to the Moms of Stork Ready Closed Facebook Page, answer a couple of questions and request your membership.
What is one way that the moms (or all residents) can help your business survive during this difficult time?
Moms and residents can help by spreading the word about our classes and support groups. So many are fearful at this time and we need to come together to help and support each other. We would love to reach as many people who could use our resources as possible.
Name another business that could benefit from the support of the North Shore Moms community.
There are so many businesses that can benefit from the North Shore Moms community. Prior to COVID-19 I was also planning a March expo for new and existing moms, named the Bump to Baby Expo. It has now been rescheduled for June 7, 2020. I was, and am, so hopeful for the event to take place. I am fortunate to be working with many amazing local businesses as vendors and sponsors of the Expo and I know many of them could use the support of this community. (Find the full list here.) I am a huge advocate of collaboration and helping other women-run businesses in our community.
On a lighter note, name one fun or relaxing way you are using your time at home during this crisis.
What have I been doing for fun or relaxing? Crazy, to say but I have been so busy during this time. Changing my business to a virtual business and working at the hospital I don’t have much time for anything else. However last night my husband, daughter and I worked on a puzzle. We haven’t done that in years. It was a lot of fun. I look forward to finishing it.