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Sweet Pea Boutique fills kids clothes void

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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The littlest things can sometimes offer great inspiration.

And while the need to find socks and underwear for children was not the sole reason for starting a new retail enterprise in Cheney, it certainly helped.

Sweet Pea Boutique, located on a quiet side street — 108 College Ave. — is the collaborative effort of Cheney resident Danielle LaBar and Sarah Sibley from Spokane.

The niche for Sweet Pea is providing goods that people do not have to go to Spokane to find. That includes the most basic of basics — socks and underwear — which, since Ben Franklin closed several years ago, were not available in Cheney.

With the snow this winter there was a rush on those items. "You don't have to go to Spokane now," Sibley said.

Sibley and LaBar are both realtors with the Kestell Company Realtors, but wanted to have something they could do during the winter, which are typical slow times when it comes to buying and selling homes. LaBar's family operates the Mason Jar restaurant.

"We felt like there was a need for children's clothing in Cheney so we wanted to make sure that need was filled," Sibley said. "We have a wide assortment of new and used items."

The partners had a vision for their store to have more of a boutique feel, Sibley explained. In her opinion children's stores she's experienced are not well organized.

"That's the comments we've heard over and over," Sibley said.

The store layout fills the void with racks of clothes organized by size and whether they are for a boy or girl.

"(We want it) to feel real cozy and be a place where people want to stop in even if it is just to see what new stuff we have," Sibley said. The store has an old-fashioned rocking chair and is spacious-looking.

The Sweet Pea name was a true team effort. "We found something we could both live with," Sibley said.

"We were having trouble figuring out a name; I liked it because that's what I call my little one," LaBar added.

There was a children's store at the location before that went out of business and Sibley said they tried to reach an agreement to buy it but could not do so.

They started basically from scratch with nothing but four walls and constantly having to adjust to new inventory. As you get inventory in, the question is constant, Sibley said. "How do we do this?"

The inventory question has gotten easier to answer and how to display items has become more common. That includes use of an old crib in the center of the store.

Sweet Pea joins a growing number of local businesses, such as Marketplace Cheney, which features products from local craft-ers and artisans of all kinds.

"We really wanted to do an emphasis on some newer items, some natural health care items," Sibley said. With that in mind Sweet Pea sells local homemade soaps and essential oils and even wooden toys.

Other items include handmade dolls by a local vendor, along with hats, car seat covers, bibs and more. "So we've tried to do both some new stuff that is stuff that people need or want when they have a baby," Sibley said.

Sweet Pea opened Oct. 15 and had a grand opening the first weekend of December. "It's been a hectic three months," Sibley said with numerous disruptions and she is excited to hopefully have a more normal few months ahead.

Inventory features a mix of clothing items that are sold on a consignment basis, which returns store credit to the seller.

Sibley said they refer to the items as "repurposed, re-found," and when it is taken in they're checked for too much wear or stains that cannot be removed.

Anything that is not accepted is donated to Cheney Outreach or Vanessa Be-han Crisis Nursery, or it is returned to the owners.

Throughout the year Sweet Pea will offer classes and other events, working with the Mason Jar and Against The Grain.

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

"We felt like there was a need for children's clothing in Cheney so we wanted to make sure that need was filled."

Sweet Pea Boutique co-owner _Sarah Sibley



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Original Publication Date: January 14, 2016



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