A new store has opened in Southaven aimed at filling a special niche for mothers of infants and young children, especially those babies who entered the world a bit earlier than they were supposed to.
Aiden + Ollie is the name of the new venture for Kelly Parrish. The store opened this past Saturday in the shopping center on Getwell Road just north of the Central Parkway intersection at 5627 Getwell Road.
Parrish said she offers clothing, shoes and accessories for infants and very young children, but especially has a heart for those mothers of premature babies. That’s because Kelly and husband Gary Parrish, a Memphis sports radio personality and national basketball columnist, have dealt with the loss of one premature baby followed by the premature birth of their youngest son Louis, who becomes a one-year-old on Nov. 15.
“The store came about after I had Louie,” said Kelly. “He was a preemie and there was no one who carried preemie clothing. We couldn’t find it anywhere, so I had to order it online.”
Kelly added her friendship with one of the owners of the boutique next door led to her beginning her business in the space she now has.
“Jessica (Russell), who owns Janie Rose next door, wanted to make her store smaller,” Parrish said. “She had her current space and this space. She suggested that I take over half of the space, put a wall up and make a children’s store, which I did.”
Among the items that are found at Aiden + Ollie are those specific to nursing babies and their mothers, including blankets and coverings with pouches that encourage “skin-to-skin” contact between mom and baby.
“Everything that I have in here has a meaning behind it,” Parrish said. “The items were important to me and I could only find them online. In some cases, I reached out to the company and they decided to wholesale with me.”
Having dealt with both the loss and the birth of a premature child is behind the visual rainbow image found on the store logo and also found on items throughout the store.
“You’ll see a lot here that has a rainbow, because we lost a child before Louis,” Parrish said. “We delivered at six months and we lost him, so because Louis came after him, he is considered our ‘rainbow baby,’ so rainbows hold a special place and it means something to me.”
Everything in the store has been handpicked by Parrish and she has made sure they are items not found elsewhere. She wants to foster an inviting atmosphere, so the open space is done on purpose and nursing mothers have a spot to nurse their child, if need be.
“You can bring a stroller in here and there’s a room back there that’s a nursing room,” Parrish said. “It has a chair and a changing table and I have diapers and a chalk wall for children to write on, a magnetic wall for kids to play on, and there’s a door, so if you’re a nursing mom and don’t feel comfortable, you can close the door and nurse your child in there.”
Because of the connection Parrish and the family have with Regional One, the Memphis hospital where Louis was born, Parrish said the store plans to help give back to the hospital and its NICU, or neonatal intensive care unit, starting with a benefit day on Nov. 15, the one-year birthday for their youngest son.
“Twenty percent of the proceeds from the store that day will be going to Regional One,” Parrish said. “The other stores next to us are also doing similar benefits for the hospital. We’re having Mempops come out and they will donate all of their popsicles that day. Doctors from the hospital are coming down and it will be a good benefit.”
Parrish added she plans to have similar events for Regional One about twice a year.
The name Aiden + Ollie are for the Parrish’s two oldest children and the rainbow found on the store logo inside is for Louis.
Aiden + Ollie is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays until 5 p.m. and closed on Sunday.
The store has a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram presence on social media and may be reached by phone at 901-870-2268.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.