Sauk City retail store offers blend of new, gently used items for kids
The inside of Sauk City’s newest business is bursting at the seams with products; shelves lined with the vivid colors of toys, books, games and other eye-catching goodies for kids and racks of clothing hanging in the aisles.
Just for Kids opened Oct. 8 and is the dream-come-true for owners Mike Fields and Tricia Peetz. Tired of the weekly challenge of setting up and taking down their traveling consignment business, the Baraboo couple began a two-year journey to find a place where they could permanently unpack their merchandise.
“I started doing consignment a few years ago through an organization and I seemed to be doing pretty good with it,” Peetz said. “Mike kept saying we needed to open our own place so we aren’t giving 30 percent of our sales away.”
The store offers a healthy amount of gently-used children’s clothing in sizes for newborns to juniors. Additionally, Just for Kids sells a mix of new and pre-owned toys, books, games, stuffed animals and activities, with popular brands including Melissa & Doug, Magformers, Tileblox, usborn books, Nuby and Dolce among them.
They still do traveling consignment on the side; a path they will continue on until the store gets more established. “It helps pay the bills,” Peetz said. “We have overhead now.”
After visiting other resale stores throughout Madison and surrounding areas, Peetz said she noted stores with a healthy stock of items in addition to clothing seemed to be the model best suited for the couples’ vision.
“We knew right away we wanted to do more than clothes,” Peetz said. “And we wanted other items on the spectrum of used and new.”
The 2,000 square-foot store at 944 Water St. in Sauk City is the couple’s fourth attempt at finding a suitable location. As Baraboo residents, they tried first to set up in their hometown. They said rents were too high for a fledgling business. Peetz and Fields next looked to the Sauk Prairie area; Peetz is a graduate of Sauk Prairie High School. Although they found two different spots in the same building, code requirements and the need to install a firewall became cost-prohibitive.
Peetz said they are more than happy with their new home; the building owners are nice and often check in with them to see how things are going. Although off to a slow start – the store has averaged two to three customers during weekdays – those who do come in have shared their excitement at having a local place to shop for their kids.
“We’ve heard a lot of, ‘I can’t wait to shop here’ and ‘This is so needed,’” said employee Kylee Lange.
Even kids who come in with their parents have expressed their joy. “Today some little girl wrote ‘I love this place’ on the easel,” Lange said. “That’s enough to keep me going.”
Peetz said once they get a little income rolling in, they plan to join the chamber of commerce. They also hope to get to a point where they can partner with local charities and even establish a grant for low-income families. They have a Black Friday event planned and other sales and events aimed at getting people in the doors. A grand opening is planned for Nov. 15.
Right now, though, the focus is on getting the rest of the merchandise unpacked and on the shelves. Peetz said they have been so busy she hasn’t had time to acknowledge the accomplishment.
Fields, however, who works a full time job in addition to helping with the new business, has definitely taken stock.
“When I walk in here and see how full everything is, it is still impressive to me,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling to see product on the shelves.”