Sophia van der Harst, back right, and her Poekie Nook kids. Courtesy image.

Not long after Sophia van der Harst moved Poekie Nook – her kid-friendly business that centers on ​the pillowy stuffed animal that has inspired children to “create, craft and imagine” – moved to Tam Junction, she noticed two things: she was surrounded by fellow kid-focused businesses, and that it wasn’t easy for kids to navigate between them because of the car-centric infrastructure of Shoreline Highway.

So van der Harst decided to do something about it. When summer camp season arrived, she teamed with Roco Dance nearby on a four-week, dual camp: kids danced in the morning at Roco and sewed their Poekies in the afternoon. But with a big fence between the two businesses, van der Harst started meeting the children at Roco and accompany them back to Poekie Nook.

The move was a hit with parents, many of whom had planned to pick their kids up at Roco and drive them to Poekie Nook – despite the businesses being about 100 feet apart. “It worked very well, and it was easy for me to do,” van der Harst says.

Now she’s gone a step further, doing the same after school for all of the kid-friendly businesses in the area, including Mojo Dojo Karate, Mathnasium, Studio4Art and Proof Lab. Poekie Nook operates on a drop-in format, while most of the others center around class times, so van der Harst says the move makes sense. She’s also extended the offer to nearby businesses like Mill Valley Dentistry.

“Parents don’t have to make the deadline of a class ending as they do at the other kid venues, so they can come pick them up at my place any time they like,” van der Harst says, noting, with a chuckle, that Poekie Nook is NOT a day care center, just a drop-in crafts spaces for kids. “In an effort to reduce the strain on traffic and parking, and adding convenience for the parents, this seems a good solution for everyone.”

“All the kids businesses around here should connect – we’re all so complimentary, there’s no competition,” she adds. 

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