Photo Gallery | Shima moves to Eagle Street

NORTH ADAMS -- Eagle Street has just become a bit more family friendly.

Shima, a store for specialty infant and toddler toys, clothes and supplies, has just moved in to share the space occupied by Persnickety Toys, a popular specialty toy store that features unique and educational toys.

Libbie Pike and Suzy Helme, the owners of Shima, and Monique Suters, the owner of Persnickety Toys, all say it is a "perfect fit."

For several years, Persnickety Toys has occupied both 13-15 Eagle St. -- two spaces with a connecting doorway in the same building.

Without realizing it, both businesses were looking to cut overhead and maximize return. Suters told some friends and neighbors she was looking to sublet the space at 15 Eagle St. The owners of Shima, which was at 65 Main St., were hoping to consolidate and reduce their rental cost. So when they heard about the space at Persnickety, it was obvious what a great move this could be.

"The possibilities are abundant," Pike said.

Families with multiple children can find what they need for all their kids in one local trip, without the production of driving to and having to hike through a big box store or going to the mall.

Or a family with a baby can find what they need at both stores as their child gets older.

"I wish we had thought of this earlier," Pike said.

"The businesses are very complementary," Helme added.

Persnickety Toys was founded in 2002. Suters, a mother of four, was tired of having to travel to South County to find toys that were educational or not part of the corporate toy industry.

"They try to program our kids to play with stuff they see on TV, but that's really not what it's about," she said.

Now the store offers thousands of unique and educational toys that can't be found in the big box stores -- and some that are fascinating even to adults.

"You never outgrow Persnickety," Suters said.

Shima was founded six years ago when Pike and Helme were separately considering opening a specialty baby store offering unique, quality goods that are sustainably produced and baby-friendly.

A mutual friend suggested they join forces, and so they opened Shima. Coincidentally both were pregnant at the time.

They named it Shima because it is the Navajo word for "my mother."

Six years later, Helme has three children and Pike has two.

Like Suters did when her children were younger, Helme and Pike bring their kids to work and get to share their everyday lives.

And their kids love the idea that their moms now live and work in a toy store.

"It is their dream come true," Helme said.

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 663-3741, ext. 227.
On Twitter: @BESStafford.