Children’s consignment shop opens inside mall
April 17—Wishing to expand her business, Leesa Blackwood reopened her children’s clothing store in the Kalispell mall this month.
Helen Dean is a children’s consignment shop that offers gently used children’s clothing and toys. Blackwood first opened the store as Giggles Consignment and Kids’ Shop in Columbia Falls two years ago, but has now moved to Kalispell in search of a larger space and with more foot traffic.
“More people are coming to Kalispell to shop, so we started looking for places here,” she said. “The new store gives us more space. We had less than 1,000 square feet before and now we have 3,000 square feet, which is a significant increase. We can carry more products.”
When the company first opened, Blackwood was looking to fill a niche she saw by offering children’s clothing in a retail setting. She says there are several thrift stores and high-end stores offering children’s clothing, but she wanted to offer something in the mid-range.
Blackwood owns Giggles Playcare, a daycare center in Columbia Falls, where the clothing store opened. Upon moving to Kalispell, she updated the name of the retail store in an effort to differentiate the two businesses.
The name Helen Dean has a family connection. Dean is for Blackwood’s son and Helen was his grandmother’s name.
“My son wanted his name included,” she said. “And my grandmother was very special to me.”
Helen Dean focuses on high-end gently used children’s clothing. Blackwood selects brands that are not sold in Flathead Valley stores in an effort to provide more choice to our customers and to differentiate the store from what is already available here.
“Our goal is to focus on bringing in products that you can’t buy locally,” she said. “We’re looking to buy brands that people have purchased out of town or online. They also need to be in near-new condition.”
Sizes range from preemie to extra-large young. The larger space in the new location allowed the store to increase the number of plus sizes carried and it also allowed the store to add maternity clothes to the mix.
Other child-related items, such as books, toys, and diaper bags, are mixed in with the lightly worn clothes. There is also a selection of new items like hats and sunglasses, but these are also selected with budget in mind.
“People often think that when they walk into a consignment store they’ll have to clear 30 items to find a good one, but here it’s all good and well organized,” Blackwood said. “We are a consignment shop – when people walk through the door they are often pleasantly surprised by what they find because we have a different vibe.”
For shippers, profits are split 50% shipper and 50% store. Payments are issued monthly to shippers, and Blackwood strives to keep all like items in the store at a similar price.
Helen Dean is located inside the Kalispell Center Mall at 20 N. Main St. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, 406-300-1342.
Managing Editor Heidi Desch can be reached at 758-4421 or [email protected]