LAKEVIEW — What's the kiddie version of a coffee shop? A milk and cookie bar, of course.
The Salvatore family of Heritage Bicycles is opening up a shop dedicated to children's products, and instead of a coffee bar like in the adult bike shop, Heritage Littles will offer different types of milk and cookies, said Michael Salvatore.
Visitors to the South Lakeview Park right outside the store at 2868 N. Lincoln Ave. may be able to catch a whiff, too. Salvatore is thinking of putting a convection oven in the shop so that the smell of freshly baked cookies wafts through the space and into the playlot.
The target: Kids like Salvatore's 2-year-old son Bennett, who is the inspiration for everything in Heritage Littles.
"He’s the central part of our life right now," Salvatore said. "We’re not forcing ourselves into businesses we don’t want to be in. It’s a natural progression."
A milk and cookie bar is a novelty, he said — not necessarily a place to hang out like the space at Heritage Bicycles, 2959 N. Lincoln Ave. At most, the bar at Littles could be used for birthday parties.
The focus of Heritage Littles is on products fit for the family, from balance bikes and children's helmets to skateboards and scooters, all inspired by Bennett's needs as he grows up. Salvatore designs many products himself, producing each one in small batches so that improvements can be made.
As Bennett grows older, more older kid items will be added. In that vein, the next product up for debut will be a wagon, he said.
And when Bennett becomes a rebellious teenager? Salvatore laughed. "Roller blades? A BMX?"
"Everything we're doing with the shop is organic with the growth of our family," Salvatore said. "I consider what we're doing as extensions of us."
Heritage Littles will share the space with A Little Photo Studio, a family-focused photo studio run by Salvatore mom Melissa. Melissa O'Neal Salvatore works as a professional family photographer, and before family life, she traveled the world taking pictures on a Fulbright Scholarship.
They plan to open in late September.