Montgomery Business Journal

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NameDropper MBJ

The NameDropper/Storkland Flourishes with Upscale Products

May 2016
By David Zaslawsky  
Photography by Robert Fouts

Sid Schroll can still recall those days when he would deliver and assemble baby furniture after working all day at Storkland in the Eastdale Mall back in the 1970s and 1980s.

He and his wife Shea would work until 8 o’clock, and that’s when Sid Schroll would begin his deliveries and assemblies. “We couldn’t afford a delivery guy,” Shea Schroll said. “We thought we might make the business work when we could hire a guy to make our deliveries.”

The business has worked out – quite well, actually. The Schrolls, along with their son Brian Schroll and his wife Gina, own The NameDropper/Storkland at EastChase. It’s two businesses under one roof, is how Shea Schroll described it. “We’re always here,” Shea Schroll said about herself, husband and son. Her daughter-in-law takes care of her children as well as working at the store.

“Storkland has all the nursery items for a new baby – the cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs, bedding for the cribs,” Shea Schroll said.

Meanwhile, The NameDropper offers children’s clothing and shoes as well as some gift items and children’s toys. The Schrolls bought The NameDropper in 1984. It was located at the Courtyard shopping center on the bypass. It had originally opened in 1941 in downtown Montgomery as Bronson’s, so the Schrolls recently had a 75th anniversary celebration.

The Schrolls combined the two stores under the same roof in 1987 at the Stratford Square shopping center.

They were one of the early pioneers of the EastChase outparcels – the third after Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A. “We had been trying to purchase land in a retail area so we wouldn’t have to rent anymore,” Shea Schroll said. They had been paying rent for 27 years, according to Sid Schroll. “We wanted to own our own land and building.”

They also moved closer to their clientele for upscale baby furniture, clothes and shoes. The baby furniture can range from $200 to $900 for a glider while the popular hand-made lace heirloom dresses are $130 to $400.

Sales have doubled since the 2003 move to EastChase, and sales have nearly returned to their pre-recession levels. Customers did pull back during the Great Recession. “I think they still want the nicer things – they just didn’t buy as many,” Shea Schroll said. She recalled one customer – a grandmother – who bought five outfits and three toys for each of her grandchildren one year. After seeing her retirement nest egg collapse, the grandmother bought two outfits and one toy for each grandchild.

The NameDropper accounts for about 60 percent of the sales, Sid Schroll said, with the Storkland accounting for the other 40 percent. Children’s clothing accounts for 45 to 50 percent of their business and children’s shoes account for about 10 percent of sales.

“Shoe sales are increasing,” Shea Schroll said. “We fit and sometimes it takes six months to train the girls how to fit a baby in shoes.” She said that The NameDropper “is the only place in town” that has a trained employee fit a baby’s shoes. Employees measure a baby’s feet and try on multiple shoes, Shea Schroll said. She said they may also be the only place in town for heirloom dresses and upscale baby furniture.

The longevity of the business means that the Schrolls have third- and fourth-generation customers. Sid Schroll said that he delivered a lot of baby furniture to customers’ grandparents and now the furniture, which is handled by Brian Schroll, is delivered for the grandchildren.

Most of their full-time employees have been working for 10 to 15 years and the store manager has been with the Schrolls for 30 years. “They know the products well,” Shea Schroll said. “They care about the business. We couldn’t work it without them.” Sid Schroll said that the employees “give the customers a personal touch, which is rare.”

There was talk about opening another store outside the area, but now there are no plans for a second location. “This store takes all of us working to keep this boat floating,” Shea Schroll said.

Name
The NameDropper/Storkland

Number of employees
20

Location
EastChase

Hours
9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1 p.m.-5 Sunday

Website
namedropperkids.com

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