OWOSSO — As shoppers at the new baby and children’s clothing store in downtown Owosso can attest, pairs of baby socks go for a quarter, baby hats for 50 cents and onesies for $1.49 or less.
The most expensive items sell for $19.99 at Kaizen 113, 113 N. Washington St. Owner Shantelle Goodman, 31, said as a single mom herself, she wants her merchandise to be affordable.
“Kids don’t stay in the same size clothes for long, and it can be hard for some moms to pay full price,” said Goodman, who grew up and still lives in Owosso with her children, MacKenzie, 12, and Bretten, 8. “And some moms who don’t have cars can walk here, and walk back home.”
Kaizen 113 sells clothing — including pajamas, blankets, shoes, slippers, hats, scarves, coats, socks, bibs, burp blankets, sleep masks — and many other items for children from preemies to to junior sizes 18-20.
There are currently about 9,000 pieces inside the 1,500-square-foot store, which has been renovated with new flooring (installed by Goodman’s fiance, Andrew Mayer), gray and white paint, counters and shelving.
The clothing racks in the store were purchased by Goodman on the cheap from just-closed Christopher & Banks women’s apparel stores in Lansing, Saginaw and Birch Run, she said.
About 30 percent of the merchandise in Kaizen 113 is new and includes such name brands as Carter’s, Old Navy, The Children’s Place and OshKosh. The rest is very gently used and freshly laundered, she said.
Goodman said she believes her store is filling a gap left by the closures of Blossom Boutique, J.C. Penney and the Goodwill store during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also drying up were such mainstays as garage sales and mom-to-mom events.
“The options for quality children’s clothing just disappeared,” Goodman said. “This store is a way to bring them back to downtown Owosso.”
Previously, Goodman worked in home health care, most recently at The Meadows of Owosso, an assisted living facility owned by Memorial Healthcare. But she’d always wanted to run her own business. She thought about a home business but decided it would be even cooler to open a store in downtown Owosso.
Last March, with financial assistance from her fiance, Goodman leased the space at 113 N. Washington, former the Funny Pages hobby shop, and started renovating the interior, putting up a sign and stocking inventory.
Goodman opened the doors Aug. 19.
“We’ve had good business with the back-to-school shopping,” she said. “The (5-year-olds) hit the racks hard.”
She hopes to start a buy-back program soon in which she’ll purchase gently used clothing from parents whose children have outgrown them, meeting by appointment. To be purchased, the clothing must have no stains, holes or tears.
Goodman’s store name comes from “kaizen,” a Japanese term meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” Kaizen is a business philosophy that strives to continuously improve operations.
“Kaizen has been our mantra,” Goodman said. “We want to keep growing and working out the kinks as we get there.”
Store hours are 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (989) 720-4720.
What: Baby and children’s clothing store
Where: 113 N. Washington St., Owosso
Hours 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Contact: Call (989) 720-4720, find on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter (kaizen1thirteen)