WILLMAR -- Fuzzy pink jackets, a three-foot stuffed alligator and shoes that squeak are just a few of the unusual items to be found at Gracie Margaret's Children's Boutique at the Kandi Mall.
The boutique opened last week, just in time for holiday shopping. "That was our goal, with Black Friday around the corner," owner Kelly Tauber of Olivia said.
The name Gracie Margaret's is a combination of her daughters' middle names. The shop is located in Willmar's Kandi Mall next door to the Regis Salon.
The shop offers quality children's clothing for infants through size 6. The inventory has more items for girls than boys at this point, but more boys' clothing is on the way, she said. Also on order are baptismal gowns.
"We are getting requests," she said, and she'll try to find what people are looking for, and she plans to start a baby registry.
The shop has clothing that would be appropriate for family pictures or for "a trip somewhere special," she said. She also has found organic clothing and accessories.
In addition to the stylish, bright clothing, the shop offers accessories, diaper bags, toys and games, stuffed animals and shoes.
"We have lots of fun mixing and matching outfits with people," Tauber said.
Tauber is working with local artists to offer decorating items for children's rooms, too. One wall has examples of personalized signs; another displays photo frames that can be ordered to match a child's room.
Photos of children, provided by Despres Photography of Redwood Falls, decorate the walls.
Some of the brands offered include Baby Nay, Everyday Nay, Jamie Rae Hats and Babba car seat covers. Another feature is clothing from Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.
Tauber and her husband have two young daughters. "It's kinda hard sometimes to take a step back and not have your own kids in everything," she said as she held a tiny pink boot in her hand.
She demonstrated some toddler-size shoes that squeak with each step. The squeakers can be removed, she said, but they can be handy at other times. "You can always hear where they are in a store."
Tauber said she's had a lot of support from her husband Aaron, family and friends in opening the store. Her mother-in-law Corinne Tauber has helped her get the store ready and will be helping her out at the business.
The business came about after she and her husband moved from Willmar to Olivia, Tauber said.
She had been working as director of the community fitness center in New London, but the commute was too long after they'd moved, she said.
"I wanted to be there more for my kids and still have a career," she said, and the shop allows her to have some creativity and flexibility.
The shop's hours will be the same as the mall, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Those hours will be expanded during the Christmas shopping season.
The phone number at the shop is 320-222-5726, and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The boutique also has a page on Facebook. Search for Gracie Margaret's Children's Boutique.