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Eco, baby 

An environmentally progressive children's store opens in downtown SLO

click to enlarge BRING ON THE GREEN:  Ariana (left), Corrina (center), and Amanda (right) Spaulding are working toward a more environmentally friendly planet, one diaper at a time. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • BRING ON THE GREEN: Ariana (left), Corrina (center), and Amanda (right) Spaulding are working toward a more environmentally friendly planet, one diaper at a time.
In case you hadn’t already noticed, Moondoggies’ old spot on Monterey Street by the mission has been transformed. Painted in pale colors that bring out the odd, modern architecture, the location is now an eco-friendly children’s store.

Owned by two young sisters, EcoBambino carries a thoughtfully selected array of clothing and toys made with the newest ecologically sound materials. The three lines of clothing include certified organic, bamboo, and cotton/soy. It’s hard to deny that these eco-outfits really are softer and comfier to the touch than traditional cotton.

Better still, EcoBambino is being billed as the conscience-clean clothing supplier. Amanda and Ariana Spaulding thoroughly research the companies they buy from, opting for fair trade wares whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Many of the toys are made in Europe, where standards are strict.

“The quality is greater,” Ariana said. “Europeans banned BPA and phthalates way before we did. There are 15,000 chemicals banned in Europe that haven’t been here. We lack proper monitoring.”

Of course, the Spauldings strive to support California businesses as well, featuring products like Original Sprout, a line of natural and organic miracle lotions and potions.

And the store boasts something most other downtown businesses wouldn’t dream of installing: a diaper wall. That means cubbies of reusable diapers with more colors and pattern choices than the average person could think up. These adjustable diapers are part of a system of liners, diaper pails, and a special soap wash, making the clean-up process easy for busy parents.

The Spauldings are promoting the recycling diaper process as an ingenious and effective environmental solution to the amazing amount of waste a tiny baby creates.

 “It takes up to 500 years for one diaper to decompose in a landfill,” Ariana said. “This is incredible. Not to mention that putting poop in the trash is a biohazard.
By using reusable diapers, you save thousands of dollars.”

The Monterey Street space offers more than just products. The sisters are making it a community center for moms and their little ones. A large activity area at the back features song and story time, seminars, and arts and crafts.

Before they moved into the downtown spot, the Spauldings had an online business and a booth at Farmers Market for the past year and a half.

“For locals, we had a service called Green Pedals where my husband would deliver purchases for free on his bicycle,” Ariana said.

Through their Farmers booth, they learned what local parents wanted in terms of bottles, carriers, clothing, and toys. Since Johnson’s for Kids closed its Higuera Street location, there’s been a demand for a children’s store in SLO town.

Ariana wasn’t always so environmentally aware.

“When you have kids, you think much more about the future. You imagine what the world will look like for the child,” she explained. “My son was born in ’06, which was the year of the recalls of toys made in China that contained lead paint. Most of the safe things I wanted to buy my kids, I couldn’t find locally and had to buy online.”

The inspiration for the store came from a desire to offer alternative, safe, healthy products to the community.

Amanda has also become more ecofriendly: “When you face the truth, you are forced to make a change. Otherwise you’re living a lie.”

Both sisters admit that choosing the green option isn’t always easy or time-efficient, but that it is (no pun intended) about making baby steps.

Even if you don’t have a kid, you might still want to stop in (they have some sweet Klean Kanteens with pop tops). EcoBambino is located at 863 Monterey St. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit shopecobambino.com or call 540-7222.

Fast facts

The Alliance for Lupus Research’s Walk with Us to Cure Lupus takes place on Nov. 6. Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes one’s immune system to attack its own tissue, is the leading cause of death among women with autoimmune diseases in their childbearing years. More than 1.4 million Americans have lupus, but there’s no cure. Money raised at the walk goes directly to support lupus research programs. Join the community at 9 a.m. at Atascadero Lake Park for registration; the walk begins at 10 a.m. …

Join the Atascadero Holiday Skateboard Camp for ages 8 to 16 Dec. 27 to 29. At 5493 Traffic Way at the indoor A-Town Park, kids will learn about skating, tricks, skills, and games, and will participate in an optional skate competition. Register online at Atascadero.org, at the City Hall or at the A-Town Park.

Intern Alycia Kiley wrote this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Contact her via Executive Editor Ryan Miller at rmiller@newtimesslo.com.

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