You provide the tot, Coastal Baby Rentals supplies the rest

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OCEAN CITY — It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. For Stephanie Frith, becoming a mother led her to become an inventor.

The birth of Frith’s daughter, Ava, four years ago gave rise to her business, Coastal Baby Rentals, in the Point Pleasant area. A small, niche business that rents baby-related items to people who travel with children, primarily to vacation destinations, Coastal Baby Rentals debuted in its second location, Ocean City, this year.

“Everything I would use as a mom when I travel is what I use in my business,” Frith said. “That’s where I got the idea. Everything in my inventory I use as a mom.”

Frith, whose second child, Grayson, was born last Memorial Day weekend, is an East Coast transplant, who is forced to travel long distances with two tots. Her brother lives in San Diego, her parents in San Francisco.

“I have no family in this area at all,” she said. “Getting on a plane with kids is really hard.”

It’s made even harder when the destination is ill-equipped to supply the essentials a baby requires, she said.

Disappointed with dirty toys, low-end equipment and the inconvenience of obtaining what she needed in a foreign environment, Frith said she was inspired to copy the business format, but not the same mistakes.

“I’m the first one at the Jersey Shore I could find doing high-end products and nicer equipment,” Frith said, mentioning Ultra-Pedic crib mattresses ($80 per week rental fee) and Bob Revolution jogging strollers ($60 per week rental fee) as examples of the pricey baby accoutrements Coastal Baby Rentals delivers to renters.

Her website is arranged into the categories: eat, sleep, play, beach, walk, drive, bath and safety; and all equipment, Frith said, is either new or like new.

Frith believes her former career as a web designer, who understands the importance of search engine optimization, gives her an advantage in a field where the service she offers is not unique.

“I understand I’m a business who rents cribs to moms,” she said, adding that she really enjoys she does, and most values the genuine connection she has forged with many customers.

Next year, she plans to expand to Long Beach Island, a three-year goal of hers that she has delayed in order to make staying home with her children a priority. She expanded to the Ocean City area this year as a result of frequent requests from customers in other shore towns.

“Not being from New Jersey myself, I didn’t know Ocean City, but I kept hearing about it from people asking me to go there,” Frith said. “I got in my truck and drove down there in the winter to Asbury Avenue and found the quintessential family town. I said, ‘No wonder people come here.’”

To contact Coastal Baby Rentals, call 365-8071 or see www.coastalbabyrentals.com. Coastal Baby Rentals offers a 10 percent discount on equipment rental with a coupon on the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce website.

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