Affordable quality is the aim at Mommy N Me in Peralta
Jerri Rael knows how difficult it is to find quality clothing for infants and toddlers without busting the budget. In a way, that’s what prompted her to open her Mommy N Me children’s boutique in Peralta six months ago.
“It stemmed from my first grandson,” Rael said. “I was dealing with trying to find his clothes and keep the cost reasonable. It just kind of sparked it.”
Rael and her husband, Marty, had been away from Valencia County for 28 years, but were looking to move back and find a business idea for Jerri.
“We were looking for something that would flow with my sister-in-law’s boutique,” she said.
That would be Janna Rael-Serna, who runs the Paseo de Peralta Faithworks Boutique and had space in the building with its own entrance that wasn’t in use. She encouraged Rael to use the space for her own business.
After adopting the idea of baby and toddler clothing, accessories and furniture, Rael decided she didn’t want to just have new or just used merchandise and settled on a mix of both where she could offer quality and affordability.
“My (oldest) daughter is a single mom,” said Real, who has two daughters and the one grandson, “I wanted to kind of hit that market, nice quality, but affordable. I wanted to provide that for (single mothers).”
As a result, the store features a blend of new and what Rael calls “gently loved” merchandise.
Everything that isn’t new is like-new, she said, and it’s often difficult to tell the difference.
“People won’t find any problems with these items,” she said. “This isn’t like a thrift store or something like that,” she said. “I personally check over every piece and wash and iron it before I put it out for sale.
“Because of that,” she says, pointing to a toddler’s dress, “I can sell a brand-name quality piece like that for $5.95. Some people are leery of shopping at a ‘second-hand’ store. All I can tell them is I happily get stuff from here for my grandson.”
Most used items come in via trade or for store credit, she said, although she will occasionally purchase high-quality used items.
“I’m very picky, though,” she said.
The main part of the store has two rooms, one with items for boys and one for girls. Boys clothing ranges in size from newborn to 6T, while girls clothes range from newborn to about 5 1/2. Rael said she expects to increase the size range in the near future.
In addition to children’s attire, Mommy N Me offers cribs, toddler beds, bassinets, Moses baskets, cradles, strollers, bouncers, swings, walkers, decor items and footwear. The larger items are in a separate third room.
The store also offers a selection of maternity wear.
“I think we’re the only place in Valencia County now with maternity clothes,” she said. “Most of our maternity clothes are from Motherhood.”
And, she said, anything she doesn’t have she will find for her customers.
Rael also creates custom-made “memory boxes” for customers. They are glass-front, deep boxes that serve as a frame to display memorabilia such as a child’s first hospital clothing, a christening dress, or a variety of childhood items that parents might want to preserve.
In an unusual upcoming promotion, Marty’s brother, Patrick Rael, will be using Mommy N Me and Paseo de Peralta to promote the release of a technical book he has written. During the promotion he will be giving away 10 Kindle e-book readers, five in each store. The Kindles will include a copy of his book.
Mommy N Me is located at 02 Zamora Lane, which is adjacent to the intersection of N.M. 47 and Peralta Boulevard. Store hours are 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The phone number is 869-9119.
Contact Dana Bowley