Children's clothing store opens in downtown Cortland

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Jacqueline Gillespie has wanted to open a children's clothing store for quite some time.

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And after several years of helping family members run several small business endeavors, Gillespie was finally able to open up her own shop.

Growth Spurt, which offers "gently loved" clothing for children and expecting mothers, opened its doors at 101 Main Street to the public on Thursday. The space was previously occupied by Bangles, Bags & Bling, a jewelry store which closed after more than a decade of business.

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Jacqueline Gillespie stands in front of her shop on Main Street in Cortland. The store opened on Thursday (Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice).

Gillespie, a city of Cortland resident, says she got the idea for the business after noticing how quickly her own kids grew out of their clothing.

"I was cleaning out my older son's closet, and I was like, 'What am I gonna do with all this stuff'? I thought I could probably open a small boutique just with what I have," she said.

Gillespie received start-up funding to open the shop through a microenterprise grant from the city of Cortland. The grants, which are funded by the state, are given to local businesses that employ five or fewer people.

Gillespie is quick to embrace the walkability and accessibility of the downtown area, optimistic that the business environment on Main Street will continue to improve.

"There's not a lot of retail on here anymore," Gillespie says. "A lot of the individuals who had retail stores are now older and retired, so it's nice to have younger individuals like myself come into the city...The lady before me was here for 15 years selling jewelry. I want to be here that long or even longer."

Most of the items sold in Growth Spurt came secondhand from individuals in the community, according to Gillespie. She says she hopes the store will be seen as an affordable place for parents who need clothing and toys for their children.

"This is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I've just been helping the rest of my family first," she says. "Now I have the time and I've received the funds to be able to do it."

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