Originally created 05/02/00

Safety retailer to open



It seems anyone can inspire someone to start their own business, even a child just out of diapers.

That's the case for local entrepreneur Kevin Bowles, whose precocious 2-1/2-year-old son, Richard, gave him the idea to start a store devoted to child safety products.

"He's a good kid, but he doesn't slow down until he goes to sleep," Mr. Bowles said. "You have to watch him constantly."

Mr. Bowles' store, A Safer World For Children, will offer just about everything parents need to "baby-proof" their home.

The 1,000-square-foot store, which opens next week at 3843 Martinez Blvd., will sell cabinet locks, electrical outlet covers and other items designed to keep toddlers away from household hazards. It will also sell children's safety gear such as bicycle helmets and child safety seats.

The store faces major competition from big-name general merchandise stores, which sell most of the same brands. But Mr. Bowles said his business will offer many products unavailable in larger stores, such as Graco's "Baby Classics" boutique line of strollers.

Mr. Bowles, who quit his job as a heating and air-conditioning specialist to start the business last year, said he is working on becoming a certified baby-proofing expert through the New Jersey-based International Association of Child Safety.

He plans to offer consultation and a concept he calls "safety showers," a child safety products version of Tupperware parties.

His long-term goal is to build a regional chain and then franchise the concept elsewhere.

"There's such an obvious need (for the business)," he said. "I can't believe nobody else is doing it."

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486.