Meridian Industrial

THE STORY BARN

1/7/2020 |

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Tucked away from the street on seven serene acres of land in Somers sits The Story Barn – a repurposed horse barn that is the new home of the national-award-winning Frieda B. book series, as well as to a creative, inviting space for all ages to enjoy.

The Frieda B. books – there are six of them today – are designed to encourage all children to dream big and believe in their own free-to-be stories, and to value the stories of others. Early on, the stories and their popularity went on to inspire a business – Frieda B., LLC – established in 2012 by Somers residents Frieda B. author Renata Bowers and co-founder Paula LaJoie with the goal of providing children and families with products and services that “encourage the story within.”

The Story Barn has become an extension of the work these two families do.

“Frieda B. is all about play, adventure, imagination, exploring. This is a character who fully explores who she is and what she loves,” said Bowers about the book series’ key character. “Kids need free play. We all need time and space to dream our dreams and enjoy the people we love, to meet neighbors and to know that we belong….that we’re loved and supported. That’s what The Story Barn is all about. For our two families, it’s a long-held dream realized,” Bowers said.

There’s plenty of room for visitors to play, explore, create and commune. Outside, The Story Barn boasts a babbling brook, towering tree canopies, a gazebo and fire pit, an 1800s watering trough turned into a fountain, a pond, a swing, and lots of room to run. Inside, the upstairs workshop boasts kraftpaper-topped tables laden with art supplies, the walls filled with artwork from the Frieda B. books. Downstairs, a cozy lodge-like atmosphere lends itself to smaller groups. The Barn also houses a retail store where, of course, shoppers can find the Frieda B. book series as well as a delightful array of other story-related gifts.

“Over the past 10 years I have worked with thousands of children and I have yet to meet a child with whom the Frieda B. key message does not resonate,” Bowers said. “And that’s quite incredible – yet true. Each of us is free to be the one-of-a-kind, neverbefore-told, amazing and very important story we carry inside… a story capable of fulfilling our own hearts while making the world a better place for others.”

Bowers brings that message to everyone, both children and adults, not only through her books but in personal appearances, including professional speaking engagements and author visits at schools where she is hired to lead assemblies, professional development or work as an artist in residence.

“We love taking the Frieda B. message wherever we’re invited. It is a privilege and we’ll continue to do so,” LaJoie said. “But for years we’ve had a craving to create a space where people can come to us. Now that dream has come true. The Story Barn is open to all ages, off the beaten path, settled among lots of nature in an unassuming barn that is well lit, cozy and warm. One of my favorite memories is when a young mom walked in, eyes wide open, looked at us and said, ‘I’m home!’”

Opened this past August, The Story Barn is open to the public for a host of scheduled events, including storytimes, open houses, workshops, reflective walks, book clubs, professional development and more. Their current calendar of events can be found at www.FriedaB.com/Calendar.

Every age is welcomed to come and participate, Bowers noted.

“Our motto at The Story Barn is ‘Every Story Matters Here.’ So it’s important that we have events for every person of any age. Little makes me happier than to see multiple generations around a table. That’s what community is best meant to be, where all ages work and play together, learn from one another. At the barn we often say we’re free to be a community. And we mean that. It’s a priority for us to foster connectedness and better understanding and support of one another,” she said.

LaJoie recalled a grandmother who shared that coming to The Story Barn for an open house was the first time she was able to bring her granddaughters somewhere that she could actually participate
in something with them. A new event called “Come Read a Frieda” invites parents and grandparents to bring the little ones they love for an interactive storytime with Bowers.

“Yep. Every story matters here. We look forward to welcoming many through our doors over the years to come,” Bowers said.

Individuals, groups, or organizations can book The Story Barn for a speciallytailored event ranging from birthdays to anniversaries and team-building to retreats.

The Story Barn is located at 952 Main St. in Somers, CT
For more information, visit www.FriedaB.com/TheStoryBarn, email at info@FriedaB.com or call 860-763-0330

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