By Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.
When Tara Williams was pregnant with her second daughter, Abby, she had a hard time finding maternity clothes in the area.
She knew other women who had the same problem.
A year ago, Williams and her mom, Linda Lee, started talking about opening a maternity store that would focus on re-selling maternity clothes.
“There have been some maternity stores in the area, but they’ve all been high end, which not everyone can afford,” Williams said.
“People don’t wear maternity clothes all that long. You’re pregnant nine months and you might wear them five months.”
Their plans were temporarily put on hold when Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I’m fine today, cancer free,” said Lee. “We were doing a lot of the talking as I was recuperating.”
Lee and Williams started looking for a location for the store.
“We talked about Valdosta, but we wanted to be in Lake Park,” said Williams.
While they searched for the right place, they started buying clothes.
“At times, it was an all-day thing,” said Lee. “We would go from place to place to place, meet people here, meet people there.”
Once they settled on 218 Lakes Boulevard for the storefront and started moving in, Williams and Lee prepared the place, repainting the walls while Williams’ husband, Darren, built a dressing room for the store, as well as a boat fixture to shelve clothes.
Some customers have had their GPS systems send them way off the beaten path, so for clarification look for On Board Maternity across the street from NAPA Auto Parts, with Da Rajun Cajun next door and Lake Dogs just a few doors down.
A boat fits into On Board Maternity’s nautical theme, inspired by a Bible verse that uses anchors as a metaphor and also one of the definitions of anchors, namely a person or thing that provides strength and support.
On Board Maternity carries a variety of maternity clothes: jeans, dress pants, skirts, dresses, business attire and swimsuits.
“We’re not a thrift store, but we try to stay affordable,” said Williams. “Most everything in here is $10 and under.”
Having a storefront makes accepting clothes much simpler, with Williams and Lee asking sellers to call and make an appointment with them.
“We’re still buying clothes,” said Lee. “It’s an ongoing process.”
As the store grows, Williams and Lee want to add accessories — jewelry, nursing scarves — but want to keep the maternity focus of the place, eschewing children’s clothes or toys.
On Board also sells specialty gifts for baby showers and gender reveal parties, including some that Williams’ oldest daughter, Madison, puts together with Lee: Baby washcloths tied to look like a cake pop, little onesies folded up to look like muffins, etc.
On Board Maternity is open noon-5 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
More information: Call (229) 559-8026.