Posts Tagged ‘children’s clothing store’

We are obsessing over this week’s Premier Store Spotlight with “The Pumpkin Patch”, located in West Virginia.  Owner Sherry Houvouras walks us through her journey of opening her first store to reminiscing on her back to school fashions as a child to when Hollywood came to Huntington, West Virginia (and her spicy encounter with baby daddy Matthew McConaughey). We can’t wait to share our latest Q&A with the cutest store in West Virginia…read more and be as enchanted as we are with “The Pumpkin Patch.” 


1.      Where did the name The Pumpkin Patch come from?
Sherry: When the first of our four children was born, Andrea picked up the moniker of “our little pumpkin.”  So when we decided to open our first children’s store in 1977,  it was a natural to name it “The Pumpkin Patch.” 

We opened in 1977 and were fortunate that we did not have the large malls we do now at the time, however, we did have several other small children’s stores in the area with the closest being 15 miles away.  We made every effort to carry brands that other kids’ stores did not carry.  We ventured into the world of maternity apparel after several years and found this segment of our business to be lots of fun. We enthusiasticlly accepted to open our store as we had several large local corporations with many female employees who were required to ‘dress professionally’ and they were thrilled to find career type maternity fashions at The Pumpkin Patch.  In addition, we carried a large selection of nursery bedding ensembles.  

2.      Can you share any pictures of your store with us? 

The Pumpkin Patch in Ceredo, West Virginia

City Kids in Huntington, West Virginia

3.      Describe the neighborhood where your stores are located.
 The Pumpkin Patch is located in a strip mall in a small town with a population of approximately 4,000 people.  However we are situated on the border of West Virginia and Kentucky.  So we draw many customers from the Kentucky area. 

4.      Your first store began in 1977 and then you expanded with a 2nd store in 1989 – what made you decide to expand and what do you think is special about each store?
Sherry: In l989, and three children later, we opened a second store approximately 15 miles from The Pumpkin Patch.  The second store, which we named City Kids, is located on a main street of Huntington, West Virginia. The location of City Kids is in a nostalgic street front store in a historic hotel, The Frederick, which dates back to the glory days when entertainers such as Dagmar, Judy Garland, Red Buttons, and others came to Huntington to perform.  A “kiddie store” (as older residents tell me) has been in this same spot for over 75 years. We chose a different name for the second store with the thought that a customer would more likely travel from one store to the other if they knew they would find different product lines – they might not venture to a second store if they thought we were a duplicate of the first.  This plan has worked well for us as we actually force customers to travel to both shops in order to “see it all”.  If we discover a shopper didn’t find an item at one store, we describe something we carry at the other location and they are anxious to make the short drive.  In addition, City Kids really caters to the working mom who is shopping on her lunch hour as we are in the center of the business district.  However, since we close at City Kids at 5 p.m. each day, if  a customer finds they can’t get at item at noontime, they can always drive to The Pumpkin Patch where we are open until 8 p.m. daily.  Huntington is on the border of Ohio, so this store has a large draw of customers from the Ohio area. 


5.      What sets you apart with two successful children’s stores?
Sherry: We are constantly stiving to stay abreast of current trends, yet our area has really suffered from the economic downturn, so we also must be aware of a good product at a good value.  That’s one of the reasons Le Top is one of our most popular lines.  A comment I often hear when a customer is mentioning Le Top is “Le Top makes such a quality garments and the style is always fun.”  Le Top has a wonderful girl’s line, but customers rave over the boys fashions.  

6.      Back to school is here – do you remember what you wanted to wear on your first day of school or a childhood memory of your first day at school?
Sherry: Back to school has certainly changed from the time I was a little girl.  My mother would take me shopping for 4 or 5 little plaid dresses – each a different color  plaid.  I also always had to get a new pair of Buster Brown shoes.  I was quite a tomboy and would really have perferred to have worn pants that had a turn- up flannel cuff on the pant leg.  The flannel turned up cuff would have been the same material the longsleeve flanned shirt would have been.  

7.      What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Sherry: One of the most exciting times at our store was when Hollywood came to Huntington, WV.  The movie, “We are Marshall” starring Matthew Fox and Matthew McConaughey was filmed over a three month period in our area in 2006  It was the true story of  the devastating loss our town suffered in 1970 when 75 football players, coaches, and alumni were killed in a plane crash as they were returning to Huntington from a game they had played at East Carolina.  Matthew McConaughey filmed shots inside and outside of the building where City Kids is located.  It was “really tough work” for me staying afterhours and watching them shoot scenes of Matthew McConaughey but I made the sacrifice and I have a lovely autographed picture of a shirtless Mr. McConaughey gracing our wall. 

8.      What collection or piece from Le Top line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
My favorite group this fall has been from the Lavender Blue group. in lines where I have the opportunity,  I always choose a different style from the same group for each size range so a mom can have three little girls and coordinate a wonderful picture in like colors but each child can have their own look.  Le Top allows me to have lots of choices. We have huge windows at both stores, and Le Top offers me great options when merchandising….You cannot imagine how many customers venture in just because a ‘great look’ in the window caught their eye. 

The Pumpkin Patch
Rt. 60 Ceredo Plaza
Ceredo, West Virginia

City Kids
948 4th Avenue
Huntington, West Virginia

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Boogie monster? Nope! Check out this week’s “Store Spotlight” with Kids Kloset in Broken Bow, Nebraska. Shirley McGinn gets down to earth with Le Top and gives tips on how to update your child’s wardrobe this summer and what her “must-haves” are for a family road trip!

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1.     Are you a Nebraska native? If so, what did you do growing up as a kid in the local area? Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us. 
I am a Nebraska native.  I graduated from Broken Bow High School.  Music was always my love and I taught elementary music for several years.  I raised my family and then entered the retail business and have owned my own store for 10 years!  My store is located on a beautiful square, which is the center of the retail area in Broken Bow.  We have a “prime” spot [on the Square].

2.     So how did you get your start in the children’s business?
Well, I worked in a missy store for several years and opened a small department in the store that I worked in, and eventually out grew that space and opened my current store location.

3.     If you had to take a family road trip this summer – what 5 items could you not live without?
Comfortable clothes that always look fresh, plenty of cold water, games for the kids, snacks, and plenty of patience!!

4.     What is 1 tip you would give a parent on how to update your child’s wardrobe for summer?
Find clothes that are cool, easy to care for and feel good for a child.  Comfort is everything!

The Le Top wall features our Lot's o' Fish, Hip Hop Grasshopper, Sweatheart Butterfly, Daisy Duck, Wildflower, and Wild About Monokinis collections.

5.     Between all of the social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and more – what do you think about social networking and how it allows moms and dads to join cyber parenting communities where they can meet, gain knowledge, as well as get recommendations and support.
I think the concept is very interesting and I think the parents today are more in-tune with this type of resource.  My own children, as parents, rely on others for advise in this area and probably would use social networking to reach out to their friends.

6.     What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?  
Variety, a knowledgeable staff, and our location.

7.     If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Watch the price point and the quality. Also be sure the clothing has color and style.

8.     What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
We have annual style shows and getting the children ready is always fun and the kids themselves have so much fun.

 9. What collection or piece from Le Top line do you love from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
The Le Top swimsuits!

Le Top Spring/Summer 2010 Daisy Duck and Zebra Monokinis

 Kids Kloset
833 D Street
Broken Bow, NE 68822


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I take the Fifth!  Check out our 5th premier retailer in our “Store Spotlight” series where we feature one Le Top’s best stores of the week.  Cheryl Leslie, owner of Lad N’ Lassie, gives us the inside details of kid shopping in Prestonburg, Kentucky, and her special, heartfelt moments at her store.

Lad N'Lassie store front featuring Le Top's Playful Pups collection

1.   What made you decide to enter the children’s business? 

CHERYL: Let’s see – I bought the business back in 1997, but Lad N’ Lassie has been in business since 1966!  In 1997, the owners at the time were looking to sell because they were tired (owning a children’s store is 24/7!). I had honestly never been in retail, and they approached me about buying it.  It [buying Lad N’ Lassie] was just something that I had positive feelings about.  I have loved every single day of it since. I used to shop for my children in the store and I was so familiar with the location already.  What is funny is the story even goes deeper than that. The owner’s husband was my father’s lab technician at his dental practice and we knew each other going back over the years!

2.   What was your background prior to this business? 

CHERYL: I was a dental assistant for 22 in my father’s dental practice.

Le Top: You must have some pretty white and bright teeth?

CHERYL: Oh, yes! A big plus in my life!  But, I learned the children’s business very, very quickly, all on my own.

3.   The name of your store reminds of me of country handsome boys and sweet hometown girls – where did the name come from?

CHERYL: It’s funny you asked, because I actually just called the daughter of the previous owner to find out where the name of our store came from.  I discovered that the owner had named it Lad N’ Lassie because its another name for a cute boy and girl – plain and simple as that!  The previous owner’s name was Dot Marshall. She was a great woman.  I purchased the store from her daughter Meg who is now retired.

4.   Your store is located in Prestonburg, Kentucky, otherwise known as the Star City of Eastern Kentucky – it sounds enchanting!  Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us. 

CHERYL: We are in a very, very tiny town where there is a 3,000-person population.  There are only 2 children’s stores in our county, along with a little ladies store, a jewelry store…you get the picture, very few stores.  Despite such a small local population, I am lucky enough to have all of my surrounding counties and my customer base range as far as over 250 miles away!  We are located in a valley in the mountains, surrounded by lush greenery.  Everybody knows everybody (just like Cheers!). Overall, it is a beautiful, quiet town that is ‘homey.’ 

5.   Who is your target customer? Do you specialize in any certain types of product?

CHERYL: Our target customers are grandparents and parents.  If I had to break down our 3 main types of product, they would be: clothing, shoes and toys, but clothes are definitely our number one!  Our customers are always looking for something unique, comfortable, great quality, and of course, easy to care for. We do a tremendous business in baby registry.

Le Top: Do you ever get any ‘Momzilla’s’ for baby registries that want anything and everything?

CHERYL:  Oh yea!!!  We even deliver directly to the baby showers and these moms always want it ALL.  Baby registry at our store is so popular that kids are now registering for their own birthdays.

Le Top: Really? What age?

CHERYL: From babies to 2-years-old!  The kids come in the store and pick what out what they want out and we (Lad N’ Lassie) set up a registry table at the store.  We do whatever works!  We could have as many as 4-5 showers on a weekend. People call with their credit card and we deliver and drive over the gifts personally to our customers.

Baby section highlights Le Top Baby's Puppy's Day Out collection

6.   What products are your ‘fly-off-the-shelf’ type items?  

CHERYL: That is hard to say.  Customers come into the store to buy clothes and it ALWAYS has to be the complete ensemble. The bow, the hat, and the shoes – the complete look.  I love Le Top (as do our customers) – you always have the entire look from the dress to the tights to the purse and more.

7.   “When are we going to be there?” We’ve all heard it. Let’s be honest, we have all gone on a long road trip in a car growing up with the family.  Hypothetically, if you drove across the country, what 3 items could you never live without?  AND if someone was driving through Prestonburg – what 3 places should they stop and see?

CHERYL: 3 items I could never live without on a long road trip might sound funny because it is so simple:

1) Food  2) Family  3) Makeup

CHERYL: If someone were driving through Prestonburg, I would tell him or her to stop at these 3 great places:

1)  Jenny Wiley State Park – it is the home of Dewey Lake, and also has Jenny Wiley Amphitheater that sells out all of its plays. The amphitheater actually opens next week and it’s like going to Broadway in New York City (actors travel from all over the country to perform here).

2) Stonecrest Golf Course

3) Then probably our Mountain Arts Center that brings in musical entertainment of all kinds…from rock to country.  We even have our own contemporary Kentucky Opry.

4) BUT, if I could name a 4th place, they would have to come see me at Lad N’ Lassie

8.   Between all of the social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and more – what do you think about social networking and how it allows moms and dads to come together as a parenting community?

CHERYL: I think it is a great thing [cyber parenting communities].  I have had a couple of parents recently come into the store and bring brochures where they want to get together with other parents in online chat rooms or Facebook type parenting groups; especially when they are new in the community, it helps to networks.  These parents leave their email contact info and Facebook info on pamphlets and then they get together to meet new people. Overall, I think it is a wonderful idea! I am personally on Facebook. I am even a fan of Le Top on Facebook.

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

1) Great customer service and staff knowledge

2): Hard work. It’s not a 9-5 job…it is 24/7. I come back here so many nights to do paperwork or put up product – there is always something.  Throughout the day, I am with customers and there is never enough time in the day.  If someone says to you in the children’s retail world that they are bored, there is something wrong. 😉

3) You have TO HAVE a terrific working rapport with your sales reps and vendors and able to contact them.  I rely on them for so much, and I don’t know how many times a week I talk to them for something I need in the store.

10.   How do you select your products for the store?

CHERYL: I attend a lot of markets, such as the one in Atlanta, the local market in Lexington, Kentucky, as well as Nashville. My reps call me all the time and because of the trust I have with them over the years, they tell me about new products or lines coming out that they want me to look at; I always check it out and try to keep things new and fresh.

11.   What is one trend you are seeing now that you love and one that you want to go away for dressing children?

CHERYL: The trend I love is color and whimsy!  I love clothing that makes a child look like a child.  Le Top customers always ‘ooh and ahh’ over the design and quality.

As for something I’m not a fan of? I want to see children look like children.  I tend to steer away from the ‘adult’ looking clothing. I understand for older kids such as older girls that are 11-years-old to dress them up a bit like a young adult (trust me they love the “bling” and over the top items), but I can’t help but like cute clothing for kids!

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

CHERYL: It is 24/7 and you have to love what you are doing. People ask me everyday about wanting to get into the business.  They say to me that they want to do this everyday, but sometimes I think they want to dress their children wholesale (ha, ha!), but it’s a lot more than that!

13. You probably have had many mommies and their children come in and out of your store doors – what is one of the funniest things you have heard come out of parent or child’s mouth?

CHERYL: We laugh everyday in our store, but it’s hard to pinpoint one particular moment.  I should keep a journal of it!

Shown here are pieces from rabbitmoon's Blossom and Passage collections.

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

CHERYL: You know there has been a few – I have had quite a few parents who have had newborns and left directly from the hospital and their first stop (before home) was my store to see me and I can see their new baby. It is so SWEET.

The other moment that I love is that most of the kids who come to our store never refer to my store as Lad N’ Lassie because we have a great play area for kids inside the store – they always say they want to go to, “Cheryl’s and play.”  They come happy and leave crying and that is special to me that they enjoy coming here. One parent the other day told me she asked her child what he wanted to do today and he said, “I want to go to Cheryl’s!” We have a train set, Melissa and Doug toys, full kitchen with dishes, shopping cart, play table for Lego blocks, baby dolls and strollers, and more! The kids go to that area and we don’t hear a peep (plus the parents can shop easily)!

15.   What collection or piece from Le Top and/or rabbitmoon are you loving from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?

CHERYL: From Le Top, I love the Tulip Garden for girls and for boys Sail Away. In rabbitmoon I love the girls Cupcake collection and for boys I love Passage.  Rabbitmoon has become one of my top selling lines.  I think because it has a whole different look with its patterned designs and of course, the parents all talk about the ‘super soft feel.’ I get it [rabbitmoon] in the store and they just LOVE it.

Lad N’ Lassie
A Children’s Boutique
188 West Court Street
Prestonsburg, KY 41653

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Ruth showing of vive les fleurs overalls from this season

Ruth showing off Fall 2009 vive les fleurs overalls

Ruth Hickman wanted to create something special…so eleven years ago, after realizing that her two daughters could not find the clothing they sought for their children, she decided to open a very unique children’s clothing store.  The store was located in a quaint little cottage that was over 100 years old – beautiful, but too small to house the vast array of merchandise for which the The Little Cottage is now known.

One of the things that Ruth loves about her thriving boutique is where the store is now located – The Factory – a unique retail environment with strong historical roots in the community.  Built in 1929, The Factory has been home to Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef and Jamison Bedding. Calvin Lehew, a unique individual, bought the sprawling complex seven years ago and, after an environmental clean-up, began opening the facility in sections. Today, The Factory at Franklin has 83 tenants.  Calvin’s philosophy is simple: “The Factory is for artists and creative folks. What I want to do is bring out more of the artist in people. I want an environment here that is conducive to creativity. To be able to open a place in The Factory it either has to be creative, unique, artistic, musical or food.”  The Little Cottage Children’s Shoppe fits the bill!

Little Cottage FrontThis beautiful store is a family business, known for the extensive selection of top drawer merchandise, and excellent service.  Ruth’s two daughters, Julie Craig and Elizabeth Martin are there in the store to be sure that everyone has a positive experience while shopping.  Customers love spreading the word about Little Cottage’s attributes:

“This is a great store! …The staff is very friendly and helpful in both stores. If you are looking for upscale children’s clothing I highly recommend The Little Cottage!”

“This is a wonderful, wonderful store! …Very friendly staff. I can’t wait to go back after I know if I’m having a boy or a girl.”

Located near The Grand Ole Opry the store has attracted many celebrity customers, including Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter Miley (a customer since she was a baby,) Reese Witherspoon and Brad and Kimberly Williams-Paisley.  Ruth says it doesn’t matter if they are celebrities, because everyone gets the best service!

The Little Cottage is open 7 days a week.  They have an informational website and love taking phone orders!

The Little Cottage Children’s Shoppe
230 Franklin Rd # 11R
Franklin, TN 37064-2278
(615) 595-7874

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I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”              – Jorge Luis Borges

Mikki Griffith’s dreams have always revolved around children.  As an early childhood educator she invested in all of our futures – by guiding young people towards learning.  Mikki designed and made clothing for her own and other children to supplement her creative bent, but maintained the dream of someday opening a children’s clothing store.  Once retired and living in Northern Wisconsin, Mikki’s dream of owning a boutique came true!  On May 1st of this year she re-opened the doors of the historic Carnegie Library in Hayward, Wisconsin, paying homage to the 100 year old site by naming her store Carnegie Kids.  She repurposed the original book shelves as display cases for her original creations and those of le•top, rabbitmoon and other fabulous collections!

Mikki has a high regard for the historic site of her business, but gives equal respect to the local community. Currently she is planning a city-wide baby shower for a local Women’s & Children’s Shelter, aimed at aiding women that do not have the support system needed for precious new arrivals.  Carnegie Kid’s customers that bring in diapers, formula, baby food, new or like-new baby blankets, or any other baby related products for the shelter receive discounts on purchases at the beautiful store.  Mikki supports the arts by working with a local, non-profit, live theatre.  She gives a discount to ticket holders and donates a portion of the proceeds to the theatre.  Take a bow Mikki!

Inside Carnegie Kids

Inside Carnegie Kids

Mothers and grandmothers who frequent her store laugh and giggle with delight at her carefully chosen selections – something that brings joy to Mikki’s heart.  A favorite part of her day is hearing the footsteps of the UPS man coming up the walk with boxes that conjure up memories of the days when her own children were small enough to wear and play with the cute clothes and toys.

Mikki offers gift wrap in a colorful signature gift bag, and loves taking phone orders from customers.  Stop in and say “hello” and check out Carnegie Kids in The Old Carnegie Library!

Carnegie Kids is located at:
10538 Main Street
Hayward, Wisconsin 54843
715.466.4724 (p)

Store Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10:00 am- 5:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am- 3:00 pm

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