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Local shop to host baby shower for mamas in need

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 18, 2015

 Newborn baby goats will be the guests of honor at a special baby shower June 6 in Pontiac.

Newborn baby goats will be the guests of honor at a special baby shower June 6 in Pontiac.

Photo courtesy of Heather Saunders Photography

PONTIAC — There are a few new additions in town, and just like you’d expect, they’re cute, cuddly and need lots of attention.

Two goats at the City Girls Soap urban dairy in Pontiac had baby goats recently, and the dairy owners are inviting the community to come out and welcome the little ones into the world with a baby shower.

But instead of the mama goats coming away with goodies for their newborns, the City Girls Soap team is donating gifts to mothers in need through the Lighthouse of Oakland County Path Program.

It’s been just about a year since the 4-year-old company moved its soap-making enterprise into the  Goldner Walsh Garden & Home campus on Orchard Lake Road in Pontiac. Owners John and Amy McIntire had been making soap, cheese, ice cream and other specialty products from goat’s milk since 2011, and they wanted to bring the company to an environment where they could have a greater impact on the community.

“It’s always been our intent to give back to the community where we are in some shape or form,” said Amy McIntire. “So when we had met the Lighthouse people and then also found our goats were definitely pregnant, we thought we’d have a baby shower as a way for people to come see (the facility), since a lot of people didn’t know we moved to Pontiac last year. But all of the baby things would be donated to Lighthouse of Oakland County.”

The couple moved their small herd of Oberhalsi goats to Pontiac’s historic district last June, and since then, they’ve looked for as many ways as they could to involve their neighbors, particularly youngsters, in their business.

“We received a $25,000 grant from the United Way to hire interns, mainly Pontiac high schoolers. A lot of kids growing up in cities like this don’t know about urban agriculture and then don’t know what it takes day in and day out to run a successful small business,” she said.

Eight paid interns currently are on staff at City Girls Soap to care for and keep up the stables, sell products at local farmers markets, keep track of financial data and more.

“The kids don’t want to leave at the end of the day,” McIntire said, adding that the skills they learn could be used to better Pontiac and other cities nearby. “Pontiac has been amazingly receptive to us being here and very supportive. It’s like Detroit, but on a smaller scale, in that there’s land available that could be used in a productive way.”

The dual party and benefit for Lighthouse of Oakland County is another way that McIntire said she wanted to both boost the company’s presence in the community and do their part to improve the area, too.

Guests at the shower are welcome to check out the business, meet the adult goats and their tiny new offspring, and enjoy some refreshments. There’s no cost, though visitors are encouraged to bring along a baby gift to benefit the Path Program. Desired items can be found on Target’s gift registry under Amy City Girls Soap.

Priscilla Perkins, chief development officer at Lighthouse of Oakland County, said the partnership between the two organizations seemed like a natural fit.

“Amy’s been wonderful. I think she has a nice product, and her willingness to embrace the community around this concept of what I call ‘urban husbandry’ is wonderful,” she said. “To have our young moms and babies benefit at the same time is quite nice.”

Though City Girls Soap products are sold all around metro Detroit — from the Farmington farmers market and Detroit’s Eastern Market to specialty stores like Whole Foods and Westborn Market — McIntire is excited to meet a few new faces at the shower.

“It’s always been our take that as we grow our business and use goat’s milk in every way we can, we have an obligation to give back in a positive way. So many of these towns (in metro Detroit), their heritage was agriculture before the car industry,” she explained. “We see ourselves as urban livestock with a nod to history, with 21st-century practices.”

The shower will take place from 10 a.m.-noon June 6. All ages are welcome. For more information, visit www.CityGirlsSoap.com. The dairy and store are located at 559 Orchard Lake Road in Pontiac.