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Little Fashions comes long way

From garage to downtown Medford

While her two little ones explore the playroom, Mary Ann Case browses through name-brand clothes on racks at Little Fashions, a used clothing and toy store in downtown Medford.

— — — BUSINESS CARD

— —

Name

: Little Fashions

Service

: Used clothing, shoes and — toys for children. Little Fashions also trades and buys used items in — mint condition

Location

: 209 W. Main St., Medford

Phone number

: (541) 245-8750

Owner

: Jeannette Holmes

Hours

: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday — through Saturday.

Notable

: This is a store where — children can explore the playroom while their parents shop for — new-looking, name brand clothing priced between $2 and $13. — —

Case finds a nearly new wooden train set for Nathan, 2, who is already searching for the locomotive in the box.

I like being able to let my kids run around and play while I shop, Case says.

Little Fashions is owned and operated by Jeannette Holmes, who started the business in her Central Point home two summers ago.

It's always been my dream to have a business, says Holmes, a native of Lima, Peru. I like to dress my children in quality clothing, but I don't like to pay top prices in the department stores.

Motivated by the clothing tastes of her three children, Audrey, 12, Eric, 9, and Lauren, 8, Holmes began searching for popular brand names such as Oshkosh, Gap, Gymboree, Old Navy and Ralph Lauren. She bought a Central Point business license for appointment sales and built a clientele. But she soon had more clothing and customers than she had space for.

I outgrew the garage and my children got older so I felt comfortable bringing them with me and the time was perfect to open my own store, Holmes says. I prayed about it a lot -- I wanted to make sure it was God's will.

She found the downtown location while out driving, discovered the lease fit her limited budget, found investors in her husband's parents and moved in June 1.

I helped her put clothes on the racks and vacuum, says Audrey. I like this shop because there's so much space in the back. And I like being out here watching all the people shopping.

The shop's large picture windows make it easy for passers-by to see the merchandise. Natural light spills in through the windows and fills the spacious front room, with its 13-foot ceilings.

The store is organized by infant girls' clothing, on the left wall, and infant boys' clothing on the right. Racks in the middle have girls' and boys' clothing sizes 5 to 14. There are racks for swimsuits, shoes and books. Brand-name toys such as Barbie, Little Tikes, Fisher-Price and Step I and II line shelves. Prices range from $2 to $12.75.

There's also a room filled with children's furniture such as beds, swings and riding toys, where customers' children are free to play while Mom and Dad shop.

I figured if I opened a children's store, my desire was to make it a fun and friendly environment for children and their parents. I encourage the children to test and play with our toys, the owner says.

Holmes' husband, Stuart, turned the store's vault into a dressing room. He uncovered and restored the brick wall that's a trademark in many of the downtown Medford shops.

The Employees Only part of the 1,200-square-foot shop has a kitchen where the Holmes' children make their lunch, a storage room for the store's seasonal items and a room that Holmes has furnished with a futon so her children can rest during the day. She's added a desk so they can work on homework and a computer to play games on.

Holmes offers store credit for trades on items that are free of stains, odors, tears or obvious wear. Clothing must be in current style and must have no missing buttons or broken snaps. Trading hours are 10 a.m. to — p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Holmes buys top name brands by appointment only.

Katie Jantzer stumbled onto Little Fashions when she was heading to the Jackson County Library this week. She was shopping without kids in tow.

I usually try to hit the (department store) sales, Jantzer says of her search for clothes for her children, ages 1, — and 5.But it's great when you can get nice clothes inexpensively, especially because kids grow out of their clothes so quickly.

The Holmes siblings Eric, 9, Audrey, 12, and Lauren, 8, test some of the beds that are for sale along with clothes and toys at their mom Jeanette Holmes' shop, Little Fashions. - Photo by Bob Pennell