Children's Orchard Matriarch To Retire; Looking For New Owners
May 28, 2020 11:03AM
By Jeanne Fratello
Children's Orchard, the popular children's resale store in Manhattan Beach, is ending an era as longtime owner Carol Mintz prepares to retire. Mintz and her daughters, who are co-owners, are looking to sell the store, perhaps to another local family.
"It’s just been a great experience," said Mintz, who bought the store in March 2010, and ran it with her daughters while her grandchildren were in preschool nearby at Creative Kids. "When you own a children’s store like this, it becomes really near and dear to your heart."
Children’s Orchard buys and sells gently used children’s apparel, shoes, toys, and equipment. It is widely known as a source for both designer clothes and rough-and-tumble play clothes, as well as seasonal items, toys and equipment for babies and toddlers, and specialty items such as tap shoes or ski wear.
The store is located on a highly trafficked area of Sepulveda, across from Manhattan Village Mall, so it tends to draw many new visitors as well as regulars.
"It's a Manhattan Beach location, but we reach far and wide," said Mintz. "We have shoppers from Torrance, San Pedro, Hawthorne, Beverly Hills, and West L.A. There’s not a lot of children’s resale stores anymore. I’m really proud of my team that we’ve learned how to survive through real challenges over the years."
Late in Life Career
Mintz and her daughters bought the store, part of a national franchise, in 2010. Owning the store was almost a third career for her, after she had first been a nurse, and then rose through the ranks of newspaper publishing.
She was semi-retired and looking to spend more time with her grandchildren, but she was bored, said her daughter Cindy Kehagiaras. When the opportunity to own Children's Orchard came up, it was a "perfect fit" because it kept her busy while allowing her to work alongside family members and be near the grandchildren.
During the past ten years, the retail business has changed quite a bit, and Children's Orchard has responded by tackling new challenges like social media.
The store had been in the midst of developing its website when the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to most businesses. But once the website was up and running, it put Children's Orchard in a good position to weather the shutdown.
"It's really been a lifesaver," said Mintz. "People can shop online and pick up curbside. It’s really a valuable tool for us. It makes it that much more desirable for the future. We’ve already made the investment and put a few thousand pieces up on line. For the future we'll have the brick and mortar, as well as the online shopping. We've also introduced online sign-ups for making appointments [for sellers]. It’s great - then you don’t have lines of people in the store."
The store has won a variety of local awards, including two awards for being "green": the South Bay Business Environmental Coalition's SEED (SoCal Environmental Excellence Development) Award, and the city of Manhattan Beach's Green Business award.
The store is currently listed for sale on BizBuySell.com.