As I adjust to new motherhood – welcome Lilli Virginia! – I find our house overrun with swaddle blankets, baby bottles and Boppy pillows. There is no one better to talk to about such things than Sheri Gurock, who, along with her husband, Eli, co-owns Magic Beans, a local chain of toy and baby gear shops with five locations around Greater Boston.

created at: 2013-01-31You and your husband have known each other practically your whole lives. Did you have any idea you would ever own a baby gear store?

No, I think it’s safe to say that was a surprise for us. We work very well together, so we always hoped we would find some way to do something as a team. But I don’t think we could’ve guessed it would end up being a baby/toy store. 

There are so many large baby-centric national chains. Were you two nervous about trying to compete with those stores?

Not really. As a mom, I didn’t find the shopping experience very compelling at the big-box stores. The product selection was vast and overwhelming, and the salespeople didn’t know much. I found I spent a lot of money and ended up with things that weren’t useful. I knew there was a better way for parents to shop, and if we created it, they would come. 

As more and more of my friends and family have babies, it seems every year there are new contraptions to help make parenthood easier. What are the top new items that you suggest to expectant couples?

A lot of products these days are getting easier and easier to use. Baby Jogger has an amazing one-handed fold on many of their strollers. The UPPAbaby Mesa car seat, coming this spring, is the easiest infant car seat to install EVER. 4Moms has a new travel crib that you can set up and break down in seconds. A local mom just invented a swaddle blanket that’s weighted to mimic a parent’s touch, and moms are reporting it works great  babies sleep longer when they use it! 

I come from one of those Jewish families that is very superstitious about bringing baby things in the house before there is a baby in the house. Is this a common thing and do you have some sort of rush delivery plan for other people in the same situation?

We definitely deal with this all the time. We can store things in our warehouse until the families are ready for them, and then we can usually get the products delivered very quickly, so they’re home before the mom and baby. 

Learn more about what the Boston Jewish community has to offer around birth and adoption.

created at: 2012-11-12Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!

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