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UNION SPRINGS Tiffany Sennett loves a bargain, and as a mother of three, understands how clothing expenses can add up.

Combining her fondness for resale shops and garage sales with the joy she feels when she’s around children, Sennett planted the seed of one day opening a toy store and children’s clothing consignment shop of her own with her husband, Kevin.

This summer, after a year and a half of planning, with little fanfare, but with some good timing, the couple opened The Growing Tree Boutique on Union Springs’ main drag.

“We didn’t really do a lot of advertising; we just wanted to open quietly,” Tiffany said. “But people definitely saw us and checked us out.”

Syncing the shop’s opening in the same month as the nearby MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale and50 Mile Garage Salemeant shoppers had one more stop to pick up a good buy.

“I don’t want to pay full price for clothing for children,” she said. “I want people to leave here saying, ‘Man, I got a good deal.'”

The boutique, located at 151 Cayuga St., brings a brightness to the town’s commercial district, which appears to be on the upswing. This May, Karen Luziani celebrated a one year anniversary of Karen’s Country Confections, and in June, Liz and Aaron Hoskins brought burgers to boaters when they opened The Burger Boat in Frontenac Harbor.

“The locals have been really pleased with the store and the storefront,” Sennett said. “Karen and I are constantly scheming ideas to bring people into the village.”

The Union Springs entrepreneur and resident sees an opportunity for other enterprises to sprout next to the Growing Tree Boutique.

“It’s an exciting time here,” she said. “I hope the Union Springs storefronts start filling up with restaurants and shops. There’s no reason we can’t have all those things.”

Inside the boutique, which was formerly the gift shop Copperesque, the Sennetts’ clothing displays are an eye catching marvel of clever utility. Kevin’s reuse of old barn shutters combine with water pipe infrastructure to create racks exhibiting colorful clothing for ages newborn to 14. The child centered tone of the shop is reinforced by a whimsical mural left by the former retailers and revamped by Sennett, depicting a hillside landscape.

“I chose Melissa Doug to be my only new items. I love their classic wooden toys,” Sennett said. “They’re timeless.”

A toy market, complete with a tike sized shopping cart and cash register, and within sight of the adult sized cash register, will occupy the littlest customers as parents make selections of clothing and other, gently used necessities, such as strollers, bassinets, playpens and activity seats.

Maureen Riester, business development specialist with the Cayuga Economic Development Agency, worked with the Sennetts to find the right spot to open the consignment shop.

“As a mother, Tiffany understands the need for affordable, quality childrens items and saw the opportunity to open a boutique in this area,” Riester said.

Sennett relishes the hope her store stays put for years to come and becomes a locus of activity for Union Springs families. The warmly lit shop’s spacious back room will begin hosting yoga classes in October “for moms and children.”

“As the kids grow up, we can grow up with them,” Sennett said.

Within walking distance of area schools, the Sennetts’ three children will have a spot to meet up with their mother after classes. The Sennett’s eldest, Gabrielle, 11, earned enough money this summer to buy an iPod by helping her parents sort the clothes people sold to the store at 40 percent of their resale value, or at 60 percent store credit.

The family also credits Gabrielle with choosing the shop’s location. Saturdays and Sundays; closed Mondays

WHERE: 151 Cayuga St., Union Springs

There are three ways to exchange items at Growing Tree Boutique in Union Springs:

40 percent of the resale price for cash

50 percent of the resale price for consigned items with higher resale value, such as strollers, bassinets, swings and high end goods

60 percent of the resale price for in store credit

Clothing and shoes must be freshly laundered and stain free; matching outfits should be together; shoes must be wiped clean. Walk ins are accepted, but for items totaling more than a laundry basketful, call ahead for appointment.
ferrari polo a children's clothing and necessities consignment shop