Karen Rogers making her own world

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 3, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Karen Rogers had always thought about opening her own business.

But it wasn’t until about six weeks ago – when she got &uot;the sign&uot; – that the former Belk’s manager saw her dream begin to materialize.


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Rogers, on her way into work several weeks ago, noticed that a neighboring shop, Evelyn’s Small World, was having a going-out-of-business sale.

On a whim, she called owner Evelyn Brantley to see if she might be interested in selling the store rather than closing it.

Fast forward six weeks and you’ll find the newest children’s boutique, Karen’s for Kids, open at 1429 N. Main Street, in Suffolk Shopping Center, where Evelyn’s Small World called home for 18 years.

&uot;…I asked the Lord for a sign and that’s exactly what he gave me,&uot; said Rogers, referring to the closing sale sign.

&uot;This store is something the community wants and needs. I know this is the right thing for me to do.&uot;

Evelyn’s regular customers will see some changes, she said.

&uot;The store is going to be different but the same,&uot; Rogers said. &uot;We are going to continue with the same tradition of quality that Evelyn’s has established. We just want to take it to a new level.&uot;

The four part-timers that have worked at Evelyn’s for years have agreed to work for her. And the store will continue carrying the same clothing and Stride-Rite shoe lines it always has

But the store is going to receive a facelift, including new carpet, painting and decorated with a Laura Ashley theme, Rogers said.

Karen’s for Kids is expanding the store’s line to include more gift items; accessories such as strollers and playpens; and an expanded inventory for dance students.

The store will carry a solid range of sizes, ranging from infant to preteen size 16.

Rogers is also speaking to local dance schools and schools requiring uniforms to determine their needs.

Karen’s for Kids will have an interactive Web site up and running soon, which will allow shoppers to place orders on-line.

&uot;We’re going to mail out of here until we can’t handle it anymore,&uot; Rogers said. &uot;Eventually, once it grows, shipping will be done from another location.&uot;

She would also like to open a second store in the growing northern Suffolk community within the next couple of years.

Other features Rogers plans to implement at the store include:

nBaby Registry, which will allow mothers-to-be to create a wish list for showers;

nKaren’s Kids will also have Gifts to Go, pre-wrapped gifts in the store’s specialty signature gift wrap;

nKid’s Club, which will allow shoppers to buy 11 items and get the 12th for free;

nKaroo, a kangaroo mascot for the store, which will visit community activities, including festivals, schools and the like.