If you’ve never taken your kids to The Children’s Piazza, you’re missing out. When my son was about a year old, we found this place (at their first Beverly location) and I remember telling a friend it was like a, “clubhouse for moms.” There was coffee and different activity spaces to keep kids busy. Fast forward a couple years and The Children’s Piazza is now located in a larger space, in West Peabody, with even more to do! But as you can imagine, indoor play spaces are suffering in the time of COVID, so I wanted to take time today, to introduce you to the owners of this local, small business, and how you can enjoy it right now.
What is the name of your business and where is it located?
The Children’s Piazza, located in West Peabody, MA.
What is your name and what town do you live in?
We are Charae D’Ambra and Becky Abbott, co-owners of The Children’s Piazza, and we live in Beverly and Lynn, respectively.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to start The Children’s Piazza.
Charae: I am a pediatric nurse practitioner, and mom of two, who has a passion for supporting early childhood development. When my first born turned a year old, I saw a “hole,” in the market for high quality places to bring young children.
Becky: I joined the business in 2018, just after The Piazza opened our current location in West Peabody. I saw the impact it made on the lives of my friends, who were new moms, and wanted to be a part of something that impacted the community in a positive way. I enjoy using my experience as a licensed contractor and music teacher of six years to collaborate with Charae on creating play structures and activities for our young guests.
How long have you been in business?
We opened our doors for the first time in February of 2014, in Beverly. The Beverly location was a great launch site, but we outgrew it pretty quickly.
Where is The Children’s Piazza located and what are your current hours of operation?
We are located at 83 Pine Street, on the campus of Covenant Christian Academy and The North Shore Education Consortium. We are in the back of the building, adjacent to the Peabody Youth Soccer fields.
What types of play options, classes, etc are available at The Children’s Piazza?
We offer active, imaginative and creative play allowing kids to develop their gross motor, fine motor, social and cognitive skills. Our indoor slides, swings, glow in the dark room, train room, dramatic play spaces and sensory tables give kids all they need to do their most important work: PLAY. We have structures especially designed for little ones with a separate gated space for infants. Our art room allows kids to be creative and parents to not worry about the mess. Since we are also a “play-CAFE”, parents can enjoy our house-made cold brew, all natural fruit smoothies, chai, teas and nut-free snacks including homemade chocolate chip cookies from scratch.
How have those offerings changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Currently, we are open for unstructured, drop-in play sessions by reservation only. Space is limited to allow for adequate social distancing and sanitizing between sessions. We are also renting our space to private groups of 25 people or less, including for birthday parties and other special events. Our newest offering is Parents’ Work Bar sessions. This is something we hope parents can really benefit from these days: supervised play for kids while parents hop on WiFi to work in our coffee shop at socially distanced tables.
What’s your favorite part about running The Children’s Piazza?
This may sound corny, but our favorite thing is watching little kids and caregivers walk in for the first time and their facial expressions of being absolutely delighted and surprised by what they see. When we get discouraged, this is what motivates us to keep going.
What is one way that moms (or all North Shore residents) can help your business survive during this difficult time?
First, come play! We are adhering to all Phase 3 requirements (and then some). Second, tell your friends! We are very much a word-of-mouth business. Book a private party or play session with your Quaranteam! Sign up for a Work Bar session! Buy a gift certificate or punch pass.
And please…give us your feedback! We need to hear from the community about how to best help you. Help us help you 🙂