News Column

Retail notebook: Priceless Peek, Olivia's

May 23, 2014

By Margaret Fisher, The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.



May 23--There's something precious about that first baby picture.

With today's technology, the first picture can be before your baby is born, and the picture-taking experience can also be a memorable occasion to share with others.

Priceless Peek is a sonography business that provides images of unborn babies on CDs, DVDs and in print. The mother and her family and friends can see the ultrasound images as they appear on a screen.

Heather Gates, 24, opened the business at Village Square on May 12 with her sister-in-law, Joanna Gates Pike, when Joanna's husband, Bryan Pike made the suggestion.

Gates, a Kinston native, had taken part in the ultrasound experience at 29 weeks into her pregnancy with her son, Carson Gates.

"As soon as I saw the picture of my son," she said, "I knew that he looked like my side of the family."

That event sparked her desire even more to open the business.

Gates, who graduated from Bethel Christian Academy in 2007, earned an Associate of Science degree in sonography at Pitt Community College in 2010. She is now a registered diagnostic medical sonographer.

Priceless Peek offers three packages, depending on how far along the mother is in the pregnancy.

From eight to 14 weeks, the mother and her guests can see the tiny baby and hear the heartbeat. The next stage is from 15-22 weeks.

"That's when we can tell the gender, if they want to know," Gates said.

Generally, it's about three or four weeks later when the mother can find out from her doctor whether she has a girl or boy, she said.

From 26-34 weeks, the mother can get 3D still images and 4D real-time images.

"You can see the baby moving in the 4D image," Gates said.

Customers can purchase a Heartbeat Bear, which can be a stuffed bear or other animal. The business will record the baby's heartbeat and insert it inside the stuffed animal's torso to enhance memories later.

Anyone that calls in May to book an appointment can receive a free Heartbeat Bear at their session.

Gates said the ultrasound procedure is safe.

"There's no known studies that show that it's harmful to the mother or the child," she said.

Clients must have a health care provider for their pregnancy, and are encouraged to ask him or her about having the images taken.

The imaging is an opportunity for couples who are separated because of military duty to share in the pregancy. Gates said she plans to offer video calling in the near future.

There is a playground at the facility for visiting children.

"Our business is basically for families," Gates said. "We want it to be a happy environment."

Gates resides in Kinston with her husband Josh Gates and their son.

Priceless Peek, 1136 U.S. 258 N., Suite 107, is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. For information, call 252-361-9454.

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Olivia's, formerly at Frenchman's Creek, has moved to the Select Foods building at 1257 Enterprise Blvd.

When Neuse Sport Shop began making an addition to their building, the catering event venue was torn down.

"We were able to retain some of our business," said Olivia's Owner Susan Colomaia, "and get some new business."

While some of the scheduled events were cancelled, Gordon Vermillion, Select Foods' vice president of operations, offered to share some space at the catering facility.

Vermillion said his business, owned by Murphy Family Ventures of which he is a part, was beginning to be more focused on industry vendoring and catering.

Colomaia said the new location offers more room and capabilities, but no outdoor space at the present time. She assisted with adding new lighting, paint and enhanced decor.

"In one place," Colomaia said, "we put up a fireplace."

More than 200 people came to her Mother's Day event.

Russell Rhodes, CEO of Neuse Sport Shop, said the area around the former Olivia's will continue to provide a scenic venue space for events. Previous plantings have been moved in the area of the 90-acre pond.

Caterers, including Olivia's, will still be able to cater events at the garden center barn, which seats about 40 people and has an outdoor pergola, he said.

"We wish (Colomaia) well in her new location," Rhodes said.

For information about Olivia's Catering, call 252-341-0993.

Margaret Fisher can be reached at 252-559-1082 or Margaret.Fisher@Kinston.com. Follow her on Twitter @MargaretFishr.

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Source: Kinston Free Press (NC)