Knowles Avenue in downtown New Richmond is now home to one clothing store that’s just for kids.
Melissa Koepp originally opened Riley’s Growing in Style in downtown River Falls in June 2011 to sell children’s clothing, toys and accessories. That venture was so successful that Koepp brought in her friend Drucilla Krienke to run a new location in downtown New Richmond.
“I started in River Falls when I bought a failed business and Drucilla at the time worked across the street at the Chamber of Commerce,” Koepp said. “We became friends. She watched my store a few times and enjoyed it.”
When they noticed that a prime retail space in downtown New Richmond was available, the duo jumped at the opportunity to partner to expand the business.
The women got the store up and running within two weeks of taking over the space at 215 S. Knowles Ave.
“We just did a little cleaning and hung up some tools,” Krienke said. “We were blessed with them having some of the fixtures already in place.”
The biggest concern for Koepp was ensuring there was enough stock to keep both stores operating. She put out the word to her loyal River Falls customers, and the used clothing came in.
Once the store was up and running, both women were confident it would be successful because just about every family constantly needs clothing as their children grow.
The idea for the store came to Koepp while encountering sticker shock while shopping for her own child, a little girl named Riley.
“I have a child, and I’m cheap,” Koepp said. “The cost to buy all these new baby things is outrageous. It’s just not practical, especially for families with more than one child.”
Krienke and Koepp carefully inspect all incoming used clothing to ensure it has been washed and doesn’t have any defects before giving customers store credit for the used items. And the store also sells some new items.
“We have hand-crafted baby gifts, and a whole line of brand new Melissa and Doug toys, and we’re hoping to grow that,” Koepp said.
Another feature that Riley’s Growing in Style offers is a play area for children to enjoy while their parents shop.
“We offer a play area so when you’re shopping your kids can play,” Krienke said. “We offer a storytime and craft activities on Wednesdays at 11 a.m., and we have great regulars already. We also do one in River Falls on Fridays, and it’s been really well-received.”
The women are hoping to keep building on their early success by opening a new location in the area every few years.