STAUNTON — Holly Hillman and Coty Allen-Lyle met next door to each other in downtown Staunton. Hillman, owner of Billy Opal, and Allen-Lyle, owner of the Storefront Hotel on New Street, became friends when Hillman opened her shop.
Allen-Lyle said she has always had a passion for children’s clothing and has always wanted to open a children’s store. Hillman is experienced in retail, so they decided to combine their forces to open Baby Opal at 107 E. Beverley St. just a block away from where they met. The new children’s clothing shop opens on Saturday, Nov. 25, after Thanksgiving Day.
A mom of three girls, 13, 4, and 9 months, Allen-Lyle wanted a place where she could bring her family to work and do something she loved. Other than big box stores, she discovered that there was nowhere downtown to find well-made new children’s clothing.
“We love the community,” said Allen-Lyle, “but something was just missing with not having a baby and children’s boutique downtown.”
The clothing at Baby Opal is new and oftentimes specially ordered from other countries such as New Zealand and Turkey; one-of-a-kind pieces that can be passed down to your growing family.
“We work with specific brands, a lot of handmade items,” said Hillman. “We have a doll collection that’s all hand-knitted and for every doll you buy it provides 10 meals for children, so we have a lot of giving back, organic, sustainable brands that we use.”
The shop carries newborn sizes through 5T clothing. Merchandise includes toys, books, clothing, home decor for the children’s room, gift ideas and baby shower gifts. They also have a special selection for moms, like bathrobes and bath items. Eventually they’ll offer gift wrapping and a gift registry for baby showers.
“We will also offer community activities for the children,” said Allen-Lyle. Art classes, music classes, small events geared to young children. “Just like a 30-minute sign-up, bring your kid to a music class or a story time event.” When the streets close in summer, they add outdoor activities for kids.
What makes Baby Opal special
Heirloom quality items — those special pieces that you will keep forever, good quality, a selection of organic clothing, essential items, and specialty items for events like family photos and holidays.
“We want to be the place where you’re coordinating outfits for your special pictures for Christmas cards,” said Allen-Lyle.
Once the shop is underway, Hillman said they will be rolling out a personalized template embroidery machine for clothing, baby blankets and other items to make those heirloom gifts extra special.
“We want to be the place where people can buy those special gifts,” said Hillman.
“Most of these brands, I’ve already been dressing my children in and felt strongly about,” said Allen-Lyle. “The quality and style. Those timeless pieces. My kids have passed them down even to cousins and then passed them back to us. So, it was easy to select what products we wanted because I’ve already been buying these brands for years.”
The shop has different price points so there’s something for everybody’s budget. From tutus to dinosaurs, farmland to space, they want to have every child’s favorite discovery with weekly new arrivals to make it a place you can return to for the entire family.
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