Special needs children often require clothes with no tags or products that fill a specific need, items that can be hard to find if you don’t shop online. Now, parents in Shelby County will have a new option, a specialty shop that carries just those types of products. Sensory World Memphis, the sensory integration store, opens Saturday, March 5th, and calls itself Tennessee’s first autistic and special needs supply store. Owner Jeremy Whitley is launching the retail outlet with his brother and co-owner, Justin Gibbs.
Whitley, 27, worked as a special needs teacher in the public schools for four years after graduating from college before deciding to open up his own business. He says his teaching gave him some insight into the challenges parents face.
“I’ve seen students need utensils in everyday life so I’d order it online and hope it would work.” But that guessing game didn’t always prove fruitful. Whitley says parents will benefit from having a variety of products on-hand that they can see and try out with their children.
The 1800-square-foot store is located just north of Wolfchase Galleria on Germantown Parkway. Whitley says they plan to specialize in products for special needs as well as kids with autism. They expect to carry weighted vests, blankets, and lap pads, headphones, manipulatives, fidgets, bitables/chewables, feeding utensils, and sensory seating as well as educational support material. While they won’t be offering toys at this point, they do plan to have some fun items like the line Little Miss Princess, which produces tutus, crowns, and other made-to-order items for dress up.
Kids who come will also enjoy exploring the sensory corner, a specially designed section of the store designed to soothe, with soft lighting, bubble tubes, a galaxy ceiling mural, and music.
Sensory World Memphis, 2965 Germantown Parkway #107 • 38133
Store Grand Opening: Saturday, March 5, 11 am.-7 p.m.