Sponsor Spotlight

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Sponsor Spotlight: The Child Development Cooperative

The Garden District Civic Association is happy to introduce our neighbors to this month’s spotlighted business: The Child Development Cooperative.

The Child Development Cooperative is owned and operated by Jennifer Crowell, a southern California native who opened the cooperative ten years ago in Mid-City.  Prior to opening The Child Development Cooperative, Jennifer opened and ran the child care center at the  A.C. Lewis YMCA. When the YMCA decided to close this center, Jennifer was able to find a new and larger location to open The Child Development Cooperative. She chose the mid-city area of Baton Rouge because of the people and businesses in the area.

The facility is currently located at 3954 Florida Blvd. The entrance of the building faces Convention St. and is located between Live Oak & Jasmine Streets. The physical indoor space is quite large at approximately 10,000 square feet and the the outdoor campus is 2.5 acres.

Jennifer tells us that she is from southern California where she earned her degree. She worked in several early childhood programs while in school and found a home in a nationally accredited program where she worked with all age groups and was eventually promoted to lead teacher, then curriculum coordinator followed closely by assistant-director and finally director before moving to Baton Rouge. After moving here, Jennifer worked in banking while searching for employment in a preschool that would fit her education and experience.  She spotted an advertisement for an organization looking to open a child care center. She applied for the job and was hired and given the reins to build a program that she knew was best for children. She opened, built, and ran the program successfully for the A.C. Lewis YMCA for ten years before taking it over herself. This led to the creation of The Child Development Cooperative which remained at the YMCA location for ten years before moving to its’ current Florida Blvd. location.

Jennifer describes her business model as follows: “I know from scientifically based research that a play-based, child-led program is what is best for children. That is what I strive to provide. As new research is conducted, we change our model to incorporate that information. Our program looked different 10 years ago and it will look different 10 years from now as we grow and know more about brain development and best practices.”

“I think what sets us apart from other child care centers is the amount of time we spend outside and that we protect children’s right to be children and don’t subscribe to the academic push-down that is happening in our society. We have put into practice the adage “it takes a village to raise a child” and provide many opportunities for families to participate and volunteer.”

In addition to operating The Cooperative, Jennifer has become a trainer for the State of Louisiana in early childhood programming. She offers training classes for early childhood professionals and consults with other programs on various aspects of early childhood programming.

The Child Development Cooperative provides full-time child care services for children from ages six weeks to five years. There are nine full-time employees and Jennifer states that they will be growing to ten employees in 2020 as they add another classroom. An infant room was added this fall and she is ready to add a toddler room in January 2020.

Word of mouth and personal recommendations from current or past Co-op families are the main form of advertisement and openings are announced on Facebook and Instagram. Typical enrollment is in the spring for reserving a space in the fall. Jennifer states,“The waiting list for enrollment is typically long so now is the perfect time to join our program”.

The Cooperative’s website address is:  http://thechilddevelopmentcooperative.com

The Instagram profile: @thechilddevelopmentcooperative

The Facebook link:  https://www.facebook.com/TheChildDevelopmentCooperative/

Operating hours are 7 a.m to 5:30 p.m, Monday through Friday.

The Garden District Civic Association wishes to congratulate Jennifer Crowell on the tenth anniversary of the opening of The Child Development Cooperative and as always, we encourage our Garden District neighbors to consider patronizing this locally-owned business.

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Claire PittmanSponsor Spotlight: The Child Development Cooperative
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Business Spotlight: Pink Elephant Antiques

Lisa Pellissier is owner and operator of The Pink Elephant Antiques.  Her business is located at 2648 Government Street, Baton Rouge, and consists of three historic buildings built in the 1930-1950s.  The wonderfully colorful building complex is very welcoming and just invites you inside to dawdle and shop the many vendor stalls.

Lisa is a 30-year resident of the Garden District.  She states that her family loves the neighborhood and she would not dream of living anywhere else.  Lisa earned a degree in horticulture from LSU and has always been interested in antiques and vintage.  She was a dealer for five years at a local antique mall before purchasing the building on Government Street and transforming it into The Pink Elephant Antiques.

The business has been opened for three years and according to Lisa, “It’s not your typical antiques store.”  There are over thirty vendors in the building who sell a variety of antique and vintage items including, but not limited to, jewelry, clothing, lighting, furniture and household goods. Lisa states,” Vintage lovers come in all shapes and sizes. We truly have something for everyone – whether it’s a walk down memory lane for some or cool stuff the young folk have never seen before! We can furnish an entire house, outfit you for a special occasion, fulfill all your gift giving needs and just provide a fun place to spend an afternoon.”

In addition to their normal business hours, trunk sales featuring outside vendors are held in the store parking lot about six times a year during the spring and fall. The store also participates in Hot Art Cool Nights and White Light Nights, two very popular Mid City events. Additionally, Lisa hosts Margarita Day, Christmas open house, and Meet the Dealer events.

Contact information for the Pink Elephant Antiques includes;

Facebook – The Pink Elephant Antiques

Instagram – The Pink Elephant Antiques Mall

Website: https://www.pinkelephantantiques.com

Lisa states,” I would love to thank everyone for the support and love the shop has gotten since we opened. It is wonderful to see so many neighbors I have known for years patronize the shop and give us so much positive feedback! We love our happy customers!”

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John WilliamsBusiness Spotlight: Pink Elephant Antiques
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Business Spotlight: Sweet Fern Landscapes

Sweet Fern Landscapes, is a landscaping business owned and operated by Garden District resident Jess Cole. Jess started her business in 2015, and most of her clients are in the Garden District/Mid City area.  Jess describes herself as an organic/sustainable gardener and and loves the area as she feels her neighbors are like-minded and are open to her practice of sustainable gardening methods.

Jess earned her degree in fine arts from LSU and included various horticulture courses in her studies. She worked in the landscape horticulture industry for ten years before opening her own business. She currently employees one person besides herself.

Jess will redo old garden beds and install new gardens to include perennial beds, pollinator beds, vegetables/edibles. She also performs sustainable/organic gardening consultation and design work.

Jess’ business is unique in that she installs and maintains gardens without the use of any man made chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. In her words, ”We believe in the fact that our local ecosystems are intrinsically connected and that it is incredibly important to look at the whole picture for both the clients personal yard and our local urban environment as a whole. We believe gardens can be sustainable when approached through bio mimicry. Plants and soil are alive and need tending and understanding like humans and other live creatures. Plants have important symbiotic relationships with the soil, bugs, etc..  What we do is build gardens that work with these organic agricultural processes that have been happening naturally (and very successfully) on their own for millions of years”. She states that,” a key aspect of my company is our relationship with pollinators in our urban environment.”

Jess is hoping to work with local schools and city government to get more pollinator/perennials beds in the city.  She has her own greenhouse in which she grows perennials and annuals to include in her plantings.

Though most of her referrals come by word-of-mouth, Jess can be reached at her website Sweet Fern Landscapes:

         www.sweetfernlandscapes.com

You can see Jess’ work first hand at the entrance to the Garden District located at Park Blvd. and Government Street. She is in the process of filling the bed with perennials and annual flowers, mulching and irrigating the bed.

Jess would like for folks to “consider ditching chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides! Its one of the best things you could do for your own health, our local environment and our ground water. There are great alternative/organic products to use as well as a wealth of information out there about how to make the switch. I think anyone who gives it a go may find it rather fulfilling.”

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John WilliamsBusiness Spotlight: Sweet Fern Landscapes

Sponsor Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge

The Garden District Civic Association is privileged to have corporate sponsors who support our neighborhood Association. These sponsors provide monetary and in-kind donations to advance the mission of our Association. We are spotlighting these Corporate sponsors to make our members aware of these generous benefactors and encourage everyone to support their businesses.

This month we are spotlighting Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge ReStore. Information was provided by Lynn Clark, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge.

Habitat for Humanity International was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, GA, in 1976 as a way to bring the community together to build decent homes for those in need. The Federation of Churches and Synagogues brought the concept to Baton Rouge in 1988 and an affiliate ñ Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge ñ was established in 1989. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge is a Christian-based ministry that builds and renovates houses in partnership with the community. They provide opportunities for families in need to purchase their own homes, build community and improve their lives.

The ReStores are a social enterprise modeled after the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores but focus on building materials.The ReStores are Habitat for Humanity’s home improvement, not for profit retail stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, and building materials. 100% of proceeds from the ReStores are used to help fund Habitat for Humanity in Baton Rouge. To date the Baton Rouge area ReStores have helped to raise funds to build homes for 14 families. The first ReStore in Baton Rouge, Restore North, opened in 2003 at 4301 Airline Hwy. In 2016, ReStore Southeast, was opened at 10300 Perkins Road.

The ReStore is unique in that it promotes recycling and keeps building materials out of landfills. For every $1 in Habitat ReStore sales, an estimated 1.3 pounds of waste is kept out of local landfills! In addition, all the money made helps build more affordable Habitat homes in our community.

The two Restore locations employ 32 full and part-time employees. They offer free donation pick-ups for large items to residents’ homes. Donation trucks operate Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30am-4:30pm. Residents are able to schedule donation pick-ups through a self-scheduler on the website, or by calling the donation line. All donations are tax deductible.

ReStore Donation Line Self-scheduler: habitatbrla.org/donate-to-the-restore
Phone: (225) 315-0127
More information is available on their Facebook page at: @batonrougerestore

Ms. Lynn Clark states that the ReStores are an important part of Habitat for Humanity’s funding. Almost all of the materials in their stores are donated by businesses and homeowners. Restore seeks donations from home owners, businesses, organizations, and contractors that have available furniture, appliances, building materials, or home goods.

ReStore offers various seasonal promotions that take place on certain holidays. Also, their inventory changes on a daily basis therefore, sales and discounts are frequent.
Regular special discount days include:
Tuesday: seniors (55+) receive 15% off
Thursday: military, first responders, and veterans receive 15% off

Finally, Ms. Clark says, “As a non-profit our mission is focused on the concept that everyone deserves a simple decent home to live in and thrive. We work alongside other affordable housing providers to end poverty housing in our community.”

If you are remodeling an existing home or building a new home, please consider making a donation of new and gently used furniture, appliances, and building materials. Also, if you are in the market for any of these items, visit one of the ReStore locations to make a purchase.

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Claire PittmanSponsor Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge