November 3, 2014 by Polarn O. Pyret
We at Polarn O. Pyret are very proud to have Melissa working in our store in Edina, MN as an assistant manager. She is a great addition to our team and has lent a very thoughtful perspective to our team about relating to kids with special needs — and their families. Shopping with kids who do have special needs can be stressful for families and PO.P wants to make shopping in our stores a happy and pleasant experience for all. Melissa brought us a wonderful proposal for how to make this happen — we are happy to be launching our One on One Shopping Program for Families with Special Needs primarily due to her initiative. Read a little more about Melissa’s story in her blog post for The Playful Life.
Polarn O. Pyret Assistant Store Manager, Melissa
The One on One program has been in the back of my mind for many years now, but being in the throes of learning how to navigate our child’s special needs, I simply wasn’t able to put it together. My family has worked hard the past few years and we’ve come a long way but I remember clearly, in the not-so-distant past, the anxiety brought on at the thought of having to bring my child to the grocery store because we were out of milk, never knowing if he (or should I say, we?) would spend 20 minutes on the floor having a tantrum, and having to deal with disapproving looks, or getting hit by my child’s flailing limbs.I also clearly remember the first time I realized I was not alone in this; we were at a wellness visit and our pediatrician was running late. After a 45 minute wait we finally got into a room, but by that point our child was in full-meltdown mode. The nurse was trying to ask us a series of questions and finally put down her clipboard and, looking at us with tears brimming in her eyes, simply said, “My son is very much like yours. It’s ok. I get it.” Those three little words: I get it. From that moment on, I started to see those people everywhere, those who weren’t judging or looking on with disapproval, but rather the people who were sympathizing, understanding! It relieved such a great part of the burden I’d been carrying up to that point. I find myself now wanting to give back, wanting to let other people know “I get it, I’ve been there, we aren’t here to judge, we’re here to help”, and Polarn O. Pyret wants to be that as well, the store that gets it, the store that wants to help relieve some of the pressures of being a parent to a child with special needs.
On Friday, November 14th 2014, Polarn O. Pyret will be launching One on One, a program through which families who have a child or children with special needs can contact our Edina location to book a private shopping session outside regular store hours. This will allow us to accommodate the family as best we can and also tailor our shopping environment based on their needs (for example, we can turn the music off, perhaps lower the lighting a bit, or simply give them a quiet space to shop and let them lead and ask for help when needed). Featuring flat lock anti-chafe seams, soft cotton, and non-binding waists, our clothing is ideal for children with sensory challenges. Polarn O. Pyret truly believes that details make a difference in the lives of children and parents alike.
We would love for you to attend the launch of our One on One program on Friday November 14th from 9-11am in the West Atrium (near Pottery Barn) at Galleria in Edina, MN. We will be featuring presentations by Donna Erickson of Donna’s Day, a brief fashion show during which we’ll explain how our clothing is ideal for children with sensory issues, information from Fraser, Pacer and the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) who will also be raffling off tickets to a sensory-friendly performance at the Children’s Theatre. Creative Kidstuff and St. David’s center will being demonstrating toys for children with special needs, and People’s Organic will provide complimentary coffee and treats. We are also excited to include Sylvia Grubb, author of ‘Grandparenting a Child with Autism’, who will be singing copies of her book, and Venture Photography who will set up a ‘photo booth’ and forward the proceeds of their sales to the participating organizations.
“We are delighted to provide this extra service to families, enabling them to actually enjoy the shopping experience and purchase items that will allow their children to play and go to school more comfortably. This program originated from the real-life experience of one of our team members with her child, and we are so pleased she brought this initiative to us so we could develop it for other families.” – Jennifer Athanason, President of Polarn O. Pyret USA.
Interested families may contact Polarn O. Pyret at the Galleria in Edina to make an appointment 952-225-3154. Our team will work with the family’s specific needs are and organize our shopping environment accordingly.