Posts Tagged ‘25th anniversary celebration’

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers – say that 10x fast! Okay, FORGET that and instead check out Piper Children’s Boutiques who are our 7th premier store retailer in our “Store Spotlight” series (where we feature one of Le Top’s best stores of the week).  Nancy Vansanten, owner of Piper Children’s Boutiques, gives us the low down on shopping at her 3 stores in Indiana and what makes her boutiques “different” – even having her store employees dress up in whimsical tutus and fairy wings!  How fun!

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Visit Piper Children’s Boutiques’ website at http://www.piperboutiques.com/

1.   The name “piper” reminds me of the Peter Piper nursery rhyme – was this the inspiration of your store name? If not, what was your inspiration?

Nancy:  Piper is my daughter’s name, hence the stores name. Piper was 2 when I opened the first store. She is pregnant now and expecting in August.  The baby is going to come home from the hospital in Le Top! Like so many of my other customers! 

2.   They always say, “location, location, location” in real estate. You have 3 store locations – which was the original store location? Can you describe the neighborhoods of your stores?

Nancy:  The first store opened on March 17th, 1983 in Hobart, Indiana. 5 years later the Valparaiso store opened. The Indy store is Piper’s and opened on March 17th, 2006. The stores are located in downtown areas, smack dab in the middle of town. I like the feel of downtowns and it gives me more freedom than operating out of a mall.

What do you think is the best way to pick a baby name?

Nancy:  Right now my daughter is pregnant with a baby boy due this August – the name is a secret still! I always wanted Piper to name her son Tom-Tom. This was an idea years ago. You know, Tom-Tom the Piper’s Son, but that was rejected immediately. Obviously I have no idea how to pick a name for a child. I used to record the new babies names that shopped in my store, and have always felt very popular names would not suit me. Sarah Palin copied me though. In 1980, when Piper was born, I never heard the name Piper, now it seems to have caught on.

4.   What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?

Nancy:  Three Keys:  First two are obvious – customer service and dedication to work. The one thing, and main thing, that sets us apart and keeps people coming is “We’re Different.” We are not only carry a great mix of merchandise that is quality, unique, funky, a little edgy, top of the trends, classic etc., but we also have ‘out-there’ displays; most people say how different our stores are. Most of our lines are exclusive to NW Indiana. I travel everywhere to find our produt.  Europe, Asia, South America etc. I’ve even looked around Arabia a few times. Didn’t find anything but great for inspiration. Here are few of the qualities that make us “different” and unique:

  • Our hours on the door say:  Daily 10:00 – 5:53, Friday 10:00 – 7:53, Sunday – At the Beach.  People often ask ‘why 5:53?’  Our response “We’re Different – come see how.”  Our phone message states the same. They ask “at the beach? In the middle of the winter?.”  Response:  ‘We didn’t say what beach”.
  • The display girls wear tutus and wings when we are changing the windows and the costumers love it.
  • We often dress to the theme of the near holiday or make up one of our own.
  • In the summer there are many diners eating outside near our store.  We try to change the windows then. Our window displays are whimsical – magical, so we are told.
  • Our hats are legendary – we make some of them and often have “Hat Hour”
  • We give out $2.00 bills for change.
  • We have fun.
  • We accessorize every outfit.  Hat, bow, shoes, blanket, toy, bracelet, purse, sox etc.  We have many come to the store to accessorize outfits they were given, even from other stores. “Staying true to quality, comfort and design in every piece of clothing I choose” is my motto.  Le Top is one of the best manufactures I have had in all three of these criteria, plus the customer service is unmatched anywhere in this industry.
  • We deliver to new moms in the hospitals.
  • Our windows are extreme.  Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.  I think Bruno (our Le Top sales representative) would tell you that about me.  There are so many other ways we are different but I don’t want to give away everything.

5.   If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?

Nancy:  Advice — Post your hours and KEEP them.  It sounds easy but it’s not.

6.   What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?

Nancy:  One memorable moment, and there are many, is at my 25th anniversary celebration.  I saw so many past moms that are now grandmothers and return to wish me luck and buy a special outfit for their grandchild. I often hear, ” I brought all my children home from hospital [or Easter dress, Christmas, etc.] in a Piper outfit and now I’m doing the same for my grandchildren.”

I think I am one of Le Top’s longest standing retailers…27 or 28 years?

7.   What collection or piece from Le Top and/or rabbit moon do you love most from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?

Nancy: I always love the coming-home-from-the-hospital outfits.  My grandson is coming home in the Puppy, Please! group.

Owner Nancy Vansanten (right) in her Hobart Store


Piper Children’s Boutique
8235 E 116th Street
Fishers, IN 46038

Piper Children’s Boutique
15 E Lincoln Way
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Piper Children’s Boutique
322 Main Street
Hobart, IN 46323

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