by Michael Abbey
My first impressions of Treetop were influenced by the simplicity of its layout and the colour of the merchandise. Store manager Paisley Woods is no stranger to the Glebe, having worked at Fab Baby Gear, which used to occupy the premises. Her opening words described the draw of the Bank Street corridor from Billings Bridge to the 417: “It’s a vibrant neighbourhood, it’s downtown, great walk-by traffic, and it’s like a little city within a city.”
From time to time, customers of the location’s predecessor wander into Treetop and end up looking around. “A lot of people maybe who are just on auto-pilot come in,” and, once there, are pleased with one of the unique features of Treetop. “We’re not just a baby store. We’ve had good response from people who were curious to see what’s going on.” The major differentiator is the clothing and miscellaneous paraphernalia suitable for a wide range of age groups. Some of the clothing is gender-neutral, conjuring up visions of a bubbly four-year old youngster proudly claiming, “I shop at the same place as my favourite aunt.”
Cotton makes up a large portion of the inventory, with goods mostly from the company Hatley based in the Eastern Townships in Québec. Hatley is noted for its creativity and unique text found on some of its garments. The colours caught my eye as soon as I entered the store. Multi-coloured apparel is pleasing to the eye combined with a simple but effective approach to display and arrangement. Treetop is proud to work with Hatley for many reasons, one being to allow their customers to avoid dealing with exchange rates on the Canadian dollar.
Treetop’s web presence “mimics what’s offered in store for the most part. There are some things that we carry in store that aren’t offered online.” As business grows, manager Paisley’s intent is to keep it that way, avoiding potential frustration when clients discover the disclaimer “Only available online” on a website. They ship to the USA and elsewhere, collecting necessary duty and other fees at the time of sale. Adult pyjamas are one of the many items in Treetop’s inventory that make it different from other stores. The store has been overhauled though most of the store amenities of the previous business were reused.
Woods has a corner in the middle of the store targeted for a play area to occupy the little ones, which adults will appreciate while they spend some precious moments shopping. The aisles are wide enough for the assortment of four-wheeled carriages that accompany the discerning caregivers who frequent the establishment. She would welcome the opportunity to open on more statutory holidays though realizes family time is important for her and her clientele.
The colours of the baby washcloths are striking. They are soft and unusual, reminding me of the adage “less is more.” If you have ever wanted a pair of socks that say “A bear hug” with a bear embracing a Christmas tree, look no further.
Treetop offers free shipping for orders over $100. Please check with the store or contact Paisley Woods for any exclusions to that policy. She described her niche market this way: “If you’re a person who likes nature-inspired things, and have a sense of humour, there’s no limit to what we have.”
She has received some comments about parking in the neighourhood but, compared to some other busy storefront locales in the city, the Glebe can be one of the easier places to park. All in all, visiting Treetop was a warm experience. I am looking forward to extending my frequent traipses through the Glebe with a stop and kibitz with Paisley and other store personnel.
Michael Abbey is a professional in the high tech sector in Ottawa. He attended school in Old Ottawa South and Centretown and has written about software and other things for 20 years. He can be reached at email@example.com or MichaelAbbeyCAN on Twitter.
755 Bank Street
Monday to Thursday, 10 – 6
Friday, 10 – 8
Sunday, 12 – 5
Saturday, 10 – 6