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Jacksonville business sells high-end baby clothes, cribs and strollers

JACKSONVILLE -- The owner of Sweet Peas Crib & Carriage has no baby business experience. But Cindy Wolf figures she has something far better -- baby experience.

I'm a baby monger, says the mother of five boys, ages 3-10. I love babies.

And she loves baby things, beautiful baby things like the hand-painted cribs, linen and chenille quilts, down-soft cotton shirts that fill her store.

— — BUSINESS CARD

Name: Sweet Peas Crib and Carriage

Service: Retail shop specializing in baby furniture, clothing

Location: 212 E. California St., Jacksonville

Phone number: (541) 899-1071

Owner: Cindy Wolf

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — —

After years of baby experience and baby shopping experience, Wolf opened Sweet Peas in downtown Jacksonville just over four months ago. There was a need, she says, for a quality baby-goods store in the Rogue Valley.

I know what mommies want; I know what mommies need, Wolf says.

She views Sweet Peas as providing an alternative to shopping trips to Eugene or Portland.

That's the only choice those ladies have had, she says. I want them to stop taking their shopping dollars to Eugene or Portland.

Quality and style is what distinguishes Sweet Peas from the department and home furnishing stores in the region that include baby items in their inventories, she says. At Sweet Peas, parents can find baby furnishings that double as fine furniture. One crib converts to a love seat after the baby grows. Other cribs convert to junior beds and even a full-size bed with head- and foot-board.

Prices range from nearly matching department stores to far exceeding them. A hand painted crib -- the model that converts to a full-size bed -- goes for $1,000. a matching bureau is $1,300.

Bedding sets range up to $700, and include the new designer line Baby Guess. Cotton blankets woven in New England on 100-year-old looms are $70.

Wolf says Sweet Peas goods are meant to be investments, and a joy to own. The crib bedding she bought for her first child has lasted five babies and 10 years.

That's why I try to encourage women to buy what you love, she says. You should include the crib in your home decor.

For some Sweet Peas customers, the goods never get near a baby. Wolf says shoppers come in for country style decorator pillows for adult furnishings, not the baby's room.

Wolf began planning the store with one item in mind: tough, stylish Peg Perego strollers. They can cost more than $300, but they last for years. She had one and knew they would be popular.

You're throwing away your money when you buy the less expensive brand, she says. They don't last.

I started with Perego because that was so important to me.

From the stroller supplier, Wolf learned of an international baby furnishings trade show in Dallas, Texas.

Last October she headed to Dallas for an education in baby merchandizing.

I threw a bag over my shoulder and took off, she recalls. And everything just fell into place so easily.

Wolf discovered that buying merchandise for Sweet Peas came naturally.

I've always been a shopper. I know from experience what's a good product, what's pretty.

Cindy Wolf, mother of five, says opening her Jacksonville shop, Sweet Peas Crib and Carriage, came naturally to her new shop caters to new moms - By VICKI GUARINO