When local residents Adriana and Mark Shuman turned their passion for children and the Earth into a fun, colorful environment that sells only “safe,” environmentally sound products, they had no idea they were starting a business at the beginning of one of the toughest economic years in U.S. history.

A year later, their store, Summer For Kids at 1235 Coast Village Road, is bustling with activity — children are often playing in the play corner of the store while parents and grandparents shop — and they are celebrating their first anniversary by dedicating Oct. 3-9 to the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Adriana Shuman said. “I believe we’ve filled an important niche by being the only store in Santa Barbara County that carries only safe products for children ages 0 to 6 years old … year-round organic clothes; toys, bath, sleeping and feeding products free of toxins; and other items that are safe for both the environment and for kids. We also try to support the American economy by carrying as many vendors as possible from the U.S.A. Now I want to give back in gratitude by raising awareness for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.”

From Oct. 3-9, the store will offer 10 percent off all merchandise to anyone who brings “gently used” items into the store for the foundation (safe toys, clothes, strollers, other children’s articles or cash — anything that can help the cause). To thank its customers, the store also will raffle off a Plan Toys play table, valued at more than $400, to anyone who spends $50 or more during that week.

Summer for Kids does more than sell consumer goods. Its mission from the start has been to improve the lives of children, so it also provide education to parents and grandparents about product safety through e-mails and an ongoing blog that covers topics such as sunscreen safety, lead, plastics and more. Click here to register for its ongoing free educational opportunities.

— Jonatha King is a publicist.