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7. Because We're Open for Business


Little Closets, opened September 2009
46-46 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City
Previously Art-o-Mat, opened October 2005; closed May 2009

Letia Frandina, owner:
I have a 2-year-old son, and this summer we went through three sizes of shoes in one month, because he’s growing so much. So I had the idea of a consignment store for kids—something sustainable, recession-friendly, and budget-conscious, with story time and a puppet theater. Opening was a whirlwind: It all happened in seven or eight weeks.

I was nervous about starting a business at all, and in the recession for sure. Consignment seemed like the way to go because it’s low-risk, but it’s still our savings. It’s hard to get loans now, too; my bank says they don’t do them until after six months. I have no idea how things will work out in the long run. If all else fails, it’s great to see all the 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds just hanging out together.


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