Puddleduck opened its doors at Number 1 Drake's Way in Lyme Regis, on the unexpectedly sunny Easter weekend this spring!
So we thought it was time you got to know Tomi, the lady behind Puddleduck and find out how Puddleduck came into her life!
So Tomi, tell us about Puddleduck!
Puddleduck is a real Aladdin's cave of toys, educational resources and crafts! We are tucked in Drake's Way, just off Lyme Regis' high street, in what was many years ago the old stables of the neighbouring Red Lion Hotel. We want to support children's learning through creative and curious play with high-quality toys and resources!
What drew you to living in Lyme Regis?
Well, for me it felt like a natural next step! I lived in London for 30 years, where I raised my two daughters. We used to come to Lyme on family holidays and absolutely fell in love. So when it came time to move out of the city, here seemed like the obvious choice. I have been here for 2 years now and am still loving it!
Your background is in teaching, how does that influence the shop?
I was an early years teacher and coordinator for years, which taught me the power of quality learning resources, that properly support children's development. I am always on hand in the shop to help you find the perfect product for you and your child, whatever their age and ability! I know how hard it can be for people who home-school their children or want to give their children extra support in their education and development, to find resources to use at home - So many come in big 'class sized' packs! At Puddleduck people can buy quality learning resources in individual sets and of course I am always happy to advise and demonstrate how to use the products!
Puddleduck is an 'inclusive shop' - Can you tell us more about this?
It is so important to me that everyone should feel welcome in the shop and enjoy their shopping experience! I want the shop to be as open and inclusive to all of our customers as possible. As part of being an inclusive, autism-friendly shop, we offer private shopping experiences, outside of our normal opening times. This allows customers to contact us and let us know of their specific needs, so that we can make a shopping experience tailored to them! We have recently applied for an Autism Friendly Award with the National Autistic Society, so we're keeping our fingers crossed on that one!