The Rural We: Amanda Hummel
Amanda Hummel is the owner of The Bee’s Knees children’s store at 725 Warren Street in Hudson, New York. She grew up in the area and has seen Hudson change a lot since she opened her doors eight years ago. What hasn’t changed is what her customers love about her shop — that they can find organic clothes, toys and other products for kids. Hummel offers an oasis for children and parents at the top of a business district lined with stores for adults.
I grew up in Stuyvesant in northern Columbia County. I was an elementary school teacher for a decade. I wanted to move on, and I was noticing there weren’t any stores like this locally, ones that were focused on developmentally appropriate toys and environmentally responsible products for children. I wanted to open a store that people could feel good about when shopping for their kids.
We opened in 2010 and I had my daughter, Inez, in 2013. I felt really happy that I had created a resource that was helpful for parents like me. I always carried products like cloth diapers and organic everything because shopping for these quality things online is really difficult. You have to be able to touch it and ask questions from someone who knows. As a mother, like my customers, I only want to put the best stuff on my kid’s skin.
We have a lot of local, handmade items, a lot of them made by moms. People who come in here see that are really responsive. We carry a brand-new, organic clothing line called Nori Bee from Ghent. The designer is a mom, and the products are beautiful, responsible and made in the U.S. We also have SO Handmade out of Woodstock, offering organic mats and toys that are beautifully inspired.
We have a space in the back of the store where kids can play, and for classes and groups to meet, like La Leche League. Hudson doesn’t have a lot of places for families to go where kids can touch things. Our play area is really popular on the weekends. It’s nice to have a store for the little ones, too. I also try to keep up to date on what’s going on in Hudson and Columbia County that’s kid appropriate, so we can be a resource for parents looking for something to do. Hudson can be overwhelming for people visiting with kids when we are the only game in town. There are more and more families coming and I’m really excited for things that are in motion, like the development of the waterfront, and what that can bring.
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