BASKING RIDGE, NJ—On the surface, Fairy Tale Kids seemed to be a business that would have a rough time during a pandemic. The candy and novelty shop also did brisk business in classes, parties, and camps for kids, not exactly a thriving market when people are staying home for months.
“We typically survived on birthday parties,” said Jessica Mauceri, Fairy Tale Kids’ owner, “then that changed.”
But Mauceri wasn’t about to fold up her shop, located at Olcott Square in Bernardsville, and walk away.
“You have to think outside the box ,” she said. “As soon as the shutdown happened, I started delivering art kits. It kept me going until I could reopen.”
When others saw a roadblock, Mauceri saw an opportunity. Recognizing that remote school would require longer-term solutions, she began organizing educational resources such as pods, remote learning drop offs, and after school programs for her shop, all while complying with health guidelines.
“I’m gaining traction with the after-school groups,” she said, “and I have a group of kids that come and do their remote work from my shop from nine to one.”
Mauceri, who has a background in education, said she also hosted various learning pods at her shop, has classes scheduled virtually and in person, and still hosts outside parties. She said some of the new initiatives come from first hand knowledge on which way to pivot her business.
“As a single parent,” she said, “I know what it feels like to not have any help or have an option, so it’s really about being there for the families.”
Mauceri doesn’t see the quality of Fairy Tale Kids services ever diminishing, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t see change in the future.
“That’s what I had to do during this,” she said, “I had to modify what I was doing, because I wouldn’t have survived otherwise. I’ll keep changing until it works, I have no other choice.”