Nikki’s Little Angels Children Boutique offers deals on clothing and merchandise

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Necessity is the mother of invention. No saying is truer. And with the economy now being what it is, some families are finding interesting ways to embrace this time of economic creativity.

 

Nikki’s Little Angels Children Boutique, a new and used retail shop where individuals can trade items for store credit in Belen, is the product of just such creativity.

Owner and mother of three Nicole Archibeque-Harrell said she and her husband, Geter Harrell, were inspired to open the shop two months ago after seeing how many families struggle to cloth their little ones. However, the store is not just for kids. Nikki’s also carries clothing for teens and adults.

After the birth of their first daughter, Nikki, who is 5 1/2, Geter underwent six months of chemotherapy and the couple believed they wouldn’t be able to have any more children.

“Our weak spot is kids,” said Geter. “I told (Nicole) if the economy wasn’t the way it was and we had a big enough house, I’d have a dozen. We know how hard it is and what a big struggle it is to cloth kids… You can get stuff here for a fraction of the cost you’d pay at other stores.”

The couple said their desire to have more children led them to become involved with CYFD as foster parents and eventually adoptive parents of Alexia, now 2-years old.

They said it took two years to adopt her, and in that time they found themselves unexpectedly expecting their third child Angelo, who is now 10-months old.

“He’s the miracle baby,” Nicole said affectionately of her son who stays at the shop with her during the day.

As parents of three, the couple are well aware of the cost of clothing a family, but Geter said that it was in working with CYFD as foster parents that he and Nicole became even more aware of the hardships families face who are in financial crisis.

“There are people that can’t even afford to buy clothes for their kids to go to school in,” said Geters.

Opening Nikki’s, he said, is a way he feels they can give back to the children in the community. The store also provides Nicole an opportunity to make some extra income without sacrificing her time with her children.

“The motivation of it was my kids, to be able to bring them here,” said Nicole, “I know the kids’ stuff is just so expensive and they grow out of it so quickly… I thought this way I get to keep them with me and help other mothers out.”

The result of this desire and ingenuity is a cozy, family-friendly store where “kids are always welcome” and parents can feel comfortable bringing their children while they shop. There is even a TV set up where kids can watch cartoons and children’s shows.

The merchandise is mostly high quality second-hand children’s clothing and items, such as jumpers, beds, strollers and changing tables, as well as charming handmade goods like fun handcrafted tutus and baby afghans.

Some of the items Nicole finds via Craigslist and through diligent yard-saling, but much of the inventory comes from the trade system that Nikki’s uses.

Customers can bring in gently-used clothing and baby items, such as car seats, to trade for store credit. Child-size clothes hangers are also in high demand and can be traded in, 15 per $1 of store credit.

“It works good for low-income families because they’re able to get something for what they’ve already put into it,” said Nicole.

Nicole said people are happy to use store credit since children grow so fast and are in constant need of new clothes. This way families can keep a tab with the store and get items for less than they might pay at other stores.

Nikki’s also offers layaway for larger items and is having a 20 percent off sale on summer clothing to make room for the fall and winter clothing she’s already collected. Unlike a lot of other trade-for-credit stores, Nicole said Nikki’s accepts clothing for all seasons.

It’s how she said she finds a lot of really good stuff such as designer labels such as Old Navy, Baby Gap and Hollister.

Nikki’s also accepts CYFD clothing vouchers for low-income families and has partnered with the Mid-west New Mexico Community Action Program.

Nicole said they are doing well thanks to word-of-mouth and their Facebook page and that people have been coming from as far as Socorro and Albuquerque to shop and trade.

Nikki’s Little Angels Chilren Boutique is located at 121 S. Main St. in Belen, and is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Mondays; noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, call Archibeque-Harrell at 715-8326.