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Buying for baby brings pair the idea for store

When Daphne and Sean Hansen were expecting their first baby they couldn't find a lot of the things they needed, a dilemma that led them to open a new business, Babinski's, 1324 Foothill Blvd., a baby gift and accessory enterprise.

Now that the entrepreneurs have opened their store, they want to provide the same things they needed before daughter Lauren was born eight months ago to expectant mothers who need help in finding items for their children.In an effort to further provide help for parents and grandparents, they will provide classes on CPR, infant massage, baby skin care and a variety of other topics to help parents with their babies.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of items during their March 14 grand opening will be donated to The Children's Center day treatment program, which serves preschool children with emotional and behavioral problems.

Daphne, 32, and Sean, 33, were sweethearts at Murray High School. They got married in 1986. Daphne has a degree in economics and Sean has a degree in physics from the University of Utah. The couple moved to Los Angeles the same year, and Sean worked with Hughes Aircraft building satellites for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Working first in a thrift and loan in Los Angeles, Daphne later worked for Epson America as a regional sales representative in computers. In 1989, Epson opened a territory to handle its business in nine states, and the couple was able to move back to Utah.

They both got real estate licenses and started to buy and sell residential property. Sean started working toward a master's degree in mechanical engineering and Daphne was in the middle of a master's degree in business administration when Epson asked her to move to San Francisco.

She refused. Sean was so involved with real estate that he didn't finish his master's program, but Daphne graduated in 1993. They traveled for six months to a variety of foreign countries, thinking it was a good idea before they had children.

In 1997 they opened the Cardiff Group, a real estate brokerage. In June, their daughter was born. They had been looking for some sort of retail business and got the idea for the baby store after having to special order things for Lauren.

By putting together some of their own money and money from private investors, the Hansens are leasing 2,200 square feet in Foothill Village. The space formerly was a bank branch, but the Hansens directed the remodeling themselves and are completely satisfied with the way it turned out.

The store is named after a doctor who discovered that when a baby's foot is stimulated, the big toe involuntarily bends backward.

With such an unusual name, the store already has attracted plenty of attention from shoppers in Foothill Village. Daphne said the interest exceeded her expectations.

Babinski's has cribs, highchairs, cradles, bedding, cards, jumpers, feeding supplies, toys of all shapes and descriptions, safety items, diaper bags and car seats. Daphne, who runs the store most of the time while Sean concentrates on the real estate brokerage, said if she doesn't have the item in inventory, she'll get it from a catalog.

She also promises to find unusual items for customers like a replacement pad for a stroller.

Having a baby is the most exciting time in a person's life and "we have a chance to help them enjoy it," the Hansens said.