By Grace Gulino
Finding a reliable sitter for a night out can be difficult, and finding care on the fly during weekdays or for small gaps in the day can be an even tougher task. With popup stores on the rise, Kimberly Thompson thought to combine the two ideas and thus PopUp Childcare was born. Thompson, a Watertown native, said she understands the struggle in needing quality care for her children, but not having a trusted caregiver available whenever she needs one.
Back in December of 2014 when she was running the half marathon in Gloucester, her husband watched her two little girls, and this was when the idea of PopUp Childcare popped into her head.
“I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if I could take them with me and I knew there was a safe place I could put them with people I can trust?” she said.
Efforts to start the creation of PopUp Childcare began soon after. Thompson talked to her friends and her husband, who liked the idea of spontaneous and convenient childcare and utilized MassChallenge.org to help start up her company.
PopUp Childcare provides parents with the opportunity to “pop in” to PopUp locations, and have their kids be cared for by professionals while they go shopping, grab coffee or do work.
“Our goal is to fill the gaps in traditional 9-5 childcare by providing flexible drop-in care – evenings, weekends or for an hour or two here or there during the weekday,” said Thompson.
The first PopUp location will be at the Arsenal Project, and is scheduled to open in October of this year. It will be 3,000 square feet in size, and will be conveniently located by the shops and restaurants in the mall.
“One of the interesting things about the Arsenal Project location in Watertown is it’s proximity to shopping, onsite and nearby, and it’s access to the river, restaurants and other activities,” Thompson said of choosing the Arsenal Project as the first location.
Thompson plans to create other PopUp locations locally, and hopefully on a national scale in the future. She mentioned creating a location at the movie theatre in Watertown, and around businesses in the Boston metro area.
Her intention is to create them in commercial spaces where she can partner businesses in the area to make it convenient for parents to run errands and have a PopUp location for their kids.
“The thing about securing occasional childcare is that it requires advanced planning and you really need someone you can trust,” said Thompson. “It’s hard to fill in the gaps in traditional childcare.”
Thompson said PopUp locations would be able to be found through an upcoming smart phone app. She said the app would also allow parents to notify the PopUp location that their child will be visiting. All payments for care will be handled directly at the PopUp locations.
Thompson is enthusiastic about her company and look forward to opening their first location later this year. PopUp Childcare will really “bring spontaneity back to parenting.”