Duck Duck Goose: Collingswood Gets a New Play Place
The Merchantville-based business is opening on Haddon Ave. in April. Community Development Coordinator Cass Duffey says it will fill a need parents have sought.
It’s officially official: Duck Duck Goose is coming to Collingswood.
The business, which bills itself as a creative play center for children, will be shuttering its Merchantville location March 29, and moving into the corner property currently occupied by For Heaven’s Sake (the religious-themed gift and card shop is going out of business).
Owner and Merchantville native Katherine Swann describes her business as a low-key play place for children, parents and grandparents. She wants Duck Duck Goose to be a place where “you can come in, relax, have a cup of coffee, chat with other parents, and you don’t have to be on top of [your children] all the time.”
Swann and her husband, who have a 2- and a 6-year-old, said they wanted “to start a business where we could have our kids around us,” and are concerned with keeping the space small to retain its low-key vibe for parents and caretakers.
“It’s nice for parents who are home with their kids during the week to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and let your kids play,” she said. “I know the jumping-around thing becomes a little stressful.”
The store will include a 200-square-foot retail area with toys made from sustainable and recycled materials, Swann said. The business also carries locally produced products, like the Sylvia Starlight figures, made by Collingswood resident Ellen Rosenholtz. Swann plans for the upstairs space to contain building tools for children ages 3 to 8.
“The vision of the space is a place you can come to more frequently,” Swann said. “Grandparents who may not necessarily have a playroom in their house, that is a nice afternoon for them.”
Duck Duck Goose charges $9 for a daylong admission (which, Swann notes, includes readmission as children’s schedules demand).
“If you need to go home and have lunch and come back, or have a change of clothes or a nap, you’re welcome to return,” she said.
Membership programs are available in six-month or yearlong installments, and include “unlimited play for whatever time period you choose,” a discount on toys, and a credit for classes at the Eiland Arts Center, a kid-focused arts studio founded by former Duck Duck Goose art instructor, Nicole Eiland, and which is opening in the space the store formerly occupied in Merchantville.
'The water and the soil and the sun'
Cass Duffey, director of community development for Collingswood, said that bringing Duck Duck Goose to the borough is something that Collingswood residents had been asking about for a while.
“Katherine has a great customer base, and I think there was a lot of excitement about this before it was official,” she said. “I think a lot of people wanted a business like Duck Duck Goose, and specifically, Duck Duck Goose.”
Duffey’s favorite analogy for cultivating new business in Collingswood is an agricultural one: "the water and the soil and the sun have to be just right," she said. And in a case like that of Duck Duck Goose, “we got all three.”
“Our wish list matches people’s wish lists a lot of the time, and if only it was as easy as calling up any old business and saying, ‘Hey, you wanna come,’ and they came,” Duffey said. “That would be a dream.”
Duffey is hopeful that the parents who bring their children to Duck Duck Goose will also take the opportunity to dine out at borough restaurants, patronize its many salons—or “maybe they’ll just like Collingswood a little bit more,” she said.
“We all want to see a bunch of businesses [in town]” Duffey said. “Finding the right space, the right price, the right timing; there’s a lot of elements that have to line up.
"For all of the suggestions we get, we’re absorbing and evaluating everything," she said. "The stuff we hear that people want, we take all that in.”
Duck Duck Goose will be open seven days a week: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday through Wed; 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, with the intention of moving to a 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. daily schedule, Swann said.