Q: What is GreenLight Studio? 

Jo Moser, partner, GreenLight Studio in Portland: The concept of GreenLight is an indoor, green-oriented play space for kids and their parents. I’ve always felt that in Maine, parents really don’t have a space to go to where they can relax and enjoy their children and watch their kids play as well as interact with their children. This concept is done in California and my partner and I decided Maine needed a place like GreenLight. I feel very strongly that parents in Maine are interested in good healthy food for their kids and a space that is inviting and open. Last August, we started to design the concept in earnest and that’s when we hooked up with Taja (Dockendorf), who is our designer. I presented this idea to her and she is the mother of two little ones and said, “I want to be a part of this.”

This is not day-care. We encourage interaction between kids and their parents. We also have special activities, like every Tuesday we have music time and every Saturday we have story time and we’re working on creative movement for little ones. 

Q: Where does the name come from? 

A: I was thinking of the children’s game, “red light-green light” and we really wanted to focus on a green environment. We recycle and use only local food and retailers. So one day, this just came to me and that’s how we created the name. 

Q: How are you eco-friendly? 

A: We recycle. We do not use paper products unless we have to. We serve our food on plates and use cups and we use only green products for sanitation. We also use organic food, only natural meats and cheeses. We’re trying to use good wood materials that will survive time.

Q: How is GreenLight Studio designed? 

A: My background is in child development, so it’s kind of set up like a traditional pre-school, with different areas for different age groups. We have crawl spaces for kids that are still crawling and moms tend to sit down in that area with them. Kids also like to do pretend, so we have different pretend play areas and we have the stage and the story room and book room, so parents can go in there for a little time with their kids by themselves. And we have climbing areas that are for developing large motor skills. 

Q: What does it cost? 

A: You can come in just anytime at the cost of $12 for two parents and one child, but we also have wonderful punch passes (for multiple visits). We also have a promotion of $75 for 10 entrances and we’re promoting Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for half price. We also have birthday parties where parents can rent the entire space for several hours. 

Q: What about when the weather is nicer for kids to go outside?

A: In the summertime, we’ll have air conditioning and organic ice cream and we really think this will be a nice place for parents to come with their kids before the beach or after the beach. And we have the cafe and when people see we have the cafe, they’re delighted. We actually have people coming in just for coffee in the morning. 

Q: What kind of food do you serve? 

A: We have paninis, with natural meats, and grilled cheese and we have homemade chips and salsa, and fresh fruit smoothies and a full coffee bar. We serve toast and jam in the morning and we’ll be introducing our organic salads May 1st. 

Q: What’s your background? 

A: I have a master’s degree in early childhood education and have worked in a pre-school setting for many years and for the Department of Health and Human Services, doing home-based visits. So my whole career has been focused on kids and families. 

Q: What do your customers want from GreenLight Studio?

A: We feel that parents who come here appreciate the developmental focus. It’s a place for kids to develop and for parents to meet and greet their friends and be supported in their parenting. I feel like we’re creating a real community here. We have so many people coming back weekly or twice a week. We’re all dedicated to really supporting parents and their children and we have a beautiful, clean, green and welcoming space. I feel we’re pretty upscale but we can also help families that are on a budget.

Q: How is it going so far?

A: We’re in our 10th week and we’re very pleased with how it’s going so far. I feel very happy in this space and I’m here all the time. People walk in and say, “Oh my God, I had no idea this was here!”