Local moms go into the business of preschool play

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:39

    Lake Hopatcong — Monkeydoodles Playroom, a new business catering to children celebrated its grand opening on Nov. 11 with over 200 children . An interactive play place for parents and their children ages six months to five years old, Monkeydoodles features soft and pretend play with a ball pit and climbing equipment, slides and tunnels. With an interest to return to the business world, owner Francesca Piotrowsky of Sparta and her partner Amy Sahagian of Jefferson created the concept with confidence that they are filling a niche. The women met through a mom’s group five years ago and became fast friends. They each have three children ranging from one to seven years old. “Amy and I are both from the pharmaceutical industry and knew it would be difficult to get back into it. So I started thinking about different needs in the area. And a year ago, I thought about this play place and called Amy up, and told her I got it.” To which Sahagian replied, “Sign me up.” After a year of researching and informal surveying, Monkeydoodles was born. “We looked into franchising, but it was very costly; and we thought we could do it on our own,” said Piotrowsky. With 1200 square feet of open play space and an 800 square foot party space for birthday parties, there are many options to choose from like scheduled classes which will be starting on Jan. 9. For $75, a 90- minute private play date can be arranged for up to 15 children. On December 23, a Holiday Drop & Shop is being held from 9am to 11:30 a.m. costing $25 a child and includes activity, a snack and a craft. Opening a new business in a challenging economy does not scare Piotrowsky: “We have a low overhead to start up — we are not looking to be a giant factory. It’s a small place for moms to take their kids to play and have a coffee, and we have the coffee right there!” Monkeydoodles Playroom is located at 832 Route 15 South in Lake Hopatcong, 973-810-2522. www.monkeydoodlesplayroom.com.