It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s high quality…and no returns!”
- Lori Clarke, Owner of Tot to Teen Village boutique (on why she loves Le Top)
1. What is one special or fun fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Lori: We’ve been in business for 74 years, and owned now by a third generation.
2. Describe the neighborhood of Kalamazoo, Michigan where your store is located. The name has a great ring to it! Can you name 3 fun facts about your town your store is located in?
Fact #1) President Obama came to our town in June for one of our local school’s graduation because our state offers free college tuition for graduating students to Michigan schools.
Fact #2) The baseball player Derek Jeter was raised in Kalamazoo.
Fact #3) We have lots of lakes for fishing, boating, and water sports.
3. What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
Lori: We offer items that people cannot find at your typical stores. We’re unique!
4. Where did the name Tot to Teen Village come from?
Lori: The owner designed the inside of the store to reflect different parts of the U.S.A.
5. Back to school is here – what has been flying off the shelves and this fall’s “must-have”?
Lori: For girls, it is anything purple and “fru-fru.”
6. Tell us about the school lunches your mom or dad made for you when you were a kid? What would someone find inside your brown paper bag or tin lunch box?
Lori: I seldom took my lunches to school as a child – our cafeteria food was pretty good. If I did take a lunch, it was always a bologna sandwich with Miracle Whip and a Hostess Twinkie…and no fruit because I hate fruit.
7. What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall? Any hot trends?
Lori: Don’t fight with them! Let them be comfortable, and buy easy-to-care-for items (merchandise). That way, everyday dressing is easier.
8. If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s retail, what would it be?
Lori: Are you insane? Actually I would say: You can’t be everything, so pick a niche and do it well.
9. What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Lori: Finding out I was having a granddaughter, and going crazy buying clothes for her! (my “bring-me-home” I bought was of course Le Top.)
10. What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Lori: My favorites are the Le Top baby Pretty Rosebuds collection and Lavender’s Blue.
Tot to Teen Village
229 W. Kilgore Rd.
Kalamazoo, MI 49002