Noelle Gartska didn't take a lot of time to make the decision to buy a kids' clothing and gift store last year.
Gartska and her husband, along with their three young kids, had moved to Chapel Hill about a year before when she learned that the former owner of Glee Kids was closing up shop. Gartska, a fan of the boutique and its modern aesthetic, sent Melissa Russell an email, wondering if she was interested in selling.
"Three weeks later, we owned it," Gartska tells me.
Gartska had plenty of experience shopping, but she didn't have a background in retail sales. She's worked in the software industry for years. Selection, business increases for Chapel Hill's Glee Kids
But that hasn't stopped Gartska from building on an already popular store as she added new lines, expanded the shoe selection and increased sales. The store continues to be a destination store for Tea, the modern, high-end brand of children's clothing. That means Gartska carries Tea's entire line in the store. If she's out of an item, she can order it for a customer and have it shipped for free.
Last winter, the store made the move from University Square, which is undergoing a major redevelopment, to University Mall. The new store is twice the size of the old one, allowing Gartska to carry more shoes and offer two dedicated dressing rooms. Glee Kids sells children's clothing in sizes newborn to 10. She also carries other items, including games, flash cards and backpacks.
The move to University Mall has meant new customers walking through the doors, including more people interested in baby gifts and lots of grandmas, who no doubt are drawn to Southern Season and other merchants there. Gartska recently launched the Glee's Grandma program, letting grandmothers who sign up get 10 percent off all full-priced items.
Kidzu Children's Museum's move to the mall this fall likely will only boost business. University Mall also is home to My Red Hen children's consignment store and My SweetArts, a music and art program for kids.
For Gartska, the best part of owning a store is the people.
"It's fun to see all of our customers around town," she tells me.
For more, check my video interview with her and go to Glee Kids' Facebook page, where she posts pictures, special events and sales information.
Thanks to Noelle for letting me drop by!
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.