BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Ask a kid their favorite thing about a visit to Lulu's Cuts and Toys and it's not hard to predict what they'll say.
What You Need To Know
- Brigitte Prat says she kept her Park Slope toy store alive during the pandemic by shifting to online sales
- Prat says her daughter came up with the idea and helped launch a successful website
- Both have returned to the store and are proud that they found a way to keep the small business alive and thriving
"Seeing all the toys and sometimes getting one," said Lillian Kaiser.
The 8-year-old and her mother, Nora Kaiser, say the selection and the personal touch have kept them loyal to the Brooklyn mom and pop store.
“We made sure that we kept shopping throughout the pandemic," Kaiser said. "We probably bought more toys during the pandemic than at other times."
For 20 years, owner Brigitte Prat has been bringing joy to little ones in the store she named after her daughter back in 2001.
She remembers the fear and uncertainty she felt last year when the pandemic forced businesses to close.
"I panicked," Prat recalled.
But it was her now-grown daughter Lulu who convinced her to think outside the box.
"While I'm talking to Lulu with my fears of what am I going to do she happened to just be on the computer, looking at Shopify and said, ‘Mom, Shopify is offering three months free to small businesses during this pandemic,'" Prat said.
With that, she launched her online store and created a pandemic lifeline that helped them survive.
"My mom never thought she would do an online store, which is hilarious but here we are," said Lulu Prat.
Both Prat and her daughter are back in the store after making a success of the online site by offering toys to help kids cope through the cabin fever last year.
"A couple weeks into it I was thinking to myself these kids have got to move," said Prat. "And I brought in indoor trampolines, hula hoops."
Now, they're happy to be among the small businesses in the city that survived the pandemic.
"For me it's been more profitable keeping my name alive. You can't put a dollar amount to that," Prat noted.