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Archive for Saturday, September 13, 1997

MARKET

September 13, 1997

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Children, too, can shop till they drop downtown.

Children are good business for several downtown shops.

With a push for local business, a variety of stores featuring wares for children helps make that possible.

When shopping for children's clothes downtown, the Second Chance Clothing Store, which just moved to 824 Mass., is a good place to start. The store sells new and used clothing for children from newborn to size 14 and offers a selection of maternity wear.

Store manager Sue Kapfer said shoppers can find bargains at Second Chance.

"It's a real good place to get name-brand stuff at a third of the cost," she said. "There's no longer a stigma attached to recycling things, and the store's items are high quality."

Owner George Paley calls his store the ultimate in recycling.

"The store is an undiscovered gold mine," he said. "The children's market in Lawrence is perplexing to me: I know there's a lot of children, but I don't know where they shop. They should come here first."

Kapfer said new children's stores in Lawrence -- such as The Gap and Yikes the Store for Tykes -- help Second Chance because they create a bigger supply of quality used clothing.

Second Chance also sells furniture.

A newer store on the scene is Yikes the Store for Tykes, 745 N.H., which opened its doors in February.

The family-owned business tries to carry brands that are unique to Lawrence, said co-owner Elenor Crangle.

"I'm hoping more people will start shopping locally," Crangle said.

The store carries about 15 brands of clothing and tends to be on the upper end in price.

The store recently began carrying the Florence Eiseman label, which can't be found elsewhere in this area, she said. The store has two Eiseman dresses on display, one of which belongs to a college-age student and the other was Crangle's. The garments are available for customers to inspect their long-term durability.

In addition to clothing, Yikes features a local carpenter who custom-builds children's furniture for customers. The store also carries developmental toys.

There is always room for more children's shops downtown, Crangle said.

"People will always spend more on their children than themselves," she said.

Perhaps the Toy Moon, 619 Mass., can be the icing on the cake for a child who has spent a day shopping for clothes.

Owner Mike Cnossen noticed three years ago that there were few stores downtown that would appeal to children.

"We wanted to create a place that kids want to come to," Cnossen said. "Kids are neat; they don't have the same agenda as adults."

Cnossen said the Toy Moon could be used to complete the family agenda.

The store focuses on toys that foster learning and skill-building, Cnossen said.

"I put in here what I like, and hopefully, people will like it too," Cnossen said. "We provide toys that will last a long time; you can never have enough toys."

Most of Cnossen's business comes from residents in the Lawrence area.

The Children's Book Shop, 937 Mass., can also offer young shoppers a break from grown-up stores.

The shop, which opened at the end of August, plans to feature books appropriate for children from birth through age 13 along with teachers' education materials.

Supervisor Sue Vance said the store will feature knowledgeable employees. Five of six have direct ties to education and one will work with the foreign language section. Their experience will help shoppers select an age-appropriate book.

"I think we will be a destination store for educators and families when they are looking for a birthday present," Vance said.

The bright store will be equipped with a discovery area, a guinea pig and tables for children and educators to inspect the merchandise. The Heartland Storytellers will be featured at the shop once a month.

"Kids will need a reward after sitting quietly while mom tries on clothes," Vance said. "The book shop will get children using their imaginations."

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