By Ray Van Dusen / Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – As long as most people can remember, the store at 130 East Commerce Street has been Aberdeen’s go-to source for children’s clothing. The signage has changed from Tots to Teens to Em’s to Ashley’s Children’s Boutique and Gifts throughout the years, but the service, in a sense, has remained the same.
“My sister-in-law owned it when it was Em’s and I’d come here all the time to help and I’d go to market with her. When she and my brother moved, my mother and I bought the merchandise,” said Ashley Patterson, who has co-owned Ashley’s Children’s Boutique and Gifts with her mother, Billie Anne Mitchell, since 2011.
Mitchell wanted to enter into the venture as a job for her retirement years. Patterson juggles the store with a part-time nursing job at Pioneer Community Hospital.
She can’t really say how many solid employees she has since the business is a family affair with her cousins and aunts and father and husband helping in different aspects.
From markets in Dallas and Jackson, she picks out items for boys and girls guaranteed to turn heads.
“We’ve got playful clothing, traditional smocking, new vintage styles and everything from casual wear to dressy church clothes. When I go to market, I try to pick out clothing shoppers can’t find anywhere else around here,” Patterson said.
Patterson said her store is one of the first around here to stock Under Armour for children. Other brands Ashley’s Children’s Boutique and Gifts carries include Mustard Pie, Persnickety and Miss Tee V-U’s. The store also carries collegiate items such as socks, hair bows, scarves, pillows and stockings so even the youngest of children get an early jump on team spirit. Items like bow ties, suspenders and fedoras give the boys a chance to dress in style.
Although Ashley’s currently stocks clothes for infant to size 16 now, the store will launch a tween section in the spring to cater to a slightly older demographic.
The store also carries shoes, gift items, diaper bags and backpacks as well. It also has a gift registry for expecting mothers.