Former Glee Kids owner Melissa Russell announced earlier this year that she planned to close the store that she opened five years ago.
But it's staying open!
Noelle Garstka, a mom of three who moved to Chapel Hill with her husband from the San Francisco area last year, has purchased the store. Garstka, a Glee Kids customer, tells me she's always loved the store and felt that there was enough demand for unique children's clothing, shoes and gifts in the area.
When Melissa told her she was open to selling the store, "we decided to jump in with both feet!," Garstka tells me.
Garstka doesn't have much retail experience. She worked at Yahoo! for more than seven years and now is a part-time software consultant. Her husband Jim is in the semiconductor industry. But she's spent plenty of time looking for special pieces for her kids, now 6, 4 and 1.
"Purchasing Glee Kids has been like retail boot camp over the past three weeks, but it's exciting and the customers have been incredibly kind to us," she wrote me in an email. "We really feel like they are happy to see the store stay open."
Garstka isn't making any major changes. Glee Kids will continue to be a destination store for Tea, the brand of children's clothing. She will continue to carry popular brands such as Wonderboy, Appaman, Winter Water Factory, Pink Chicken and City Threads. She's adding Toobydoo and Nui Organics.
The biggest change, Garstka says, is in the store's shoe offerings. Right now, Glee kids has Tsukihoshi, Birkis and Superga. Morgan and Milo, along with a few other brands, will appear in the store soon.
To mark the new ownership, Garstka is planning a celebration this Saturday and Sunday. You can check out the store's new inventory. There also will be drawings for Glee Kids gift certificates.
Abigail Blosser, who I've featured on the site and is part of our Month of Mom contests right now, will offer mini photo sessions from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, featuring photos of dads and kids; moms and kids; or just kids. Call Glee Kids 919.942.6881 for a session.
I'm so glad to see this local store staying open!