Jan Campbell and her daughter Mindy Maiwald Compton have been working together since Compton was a teenager, so It was only natural that some day they would go into business with each other.
The two are the new owners of Willow Tree Children’s Boutique and took ownership of the store back in June. Sunday they held a grand opening to celebrate the store’s move from its home of 15 years, West Pine Street, to 120 North School Street in the space formerly occupied by Fashion Safari.
Compton had been shopping at Willow Tree for eight years prior to purchasing it and was really good friends with the former owner. When visiting the store about three years ago, the former owner told her she was planning to sell the store. Compton thought it would be exciting to own Willow Tree because she is a mom, has a background in child development and enjoys shopping. When she and her mother became unemployed they jumped at the opportunity to purchase the store.
The two decided that Willow Tree would be the perfect venture because it would allow Compton to not have to rely on daycare for her 2-year-old daughter Everly and Campbell would be able to work part-time while enjoying her retirement.
“I’m used to coming to work and seeing her all of the time,” Compton said. “That’s what my daughter is used to. She went to work with us at our last job, so it’s kind of normal for us to always work together. It’s just a new and more fun and exciting place.”
Surprisingly, owning the store together doesn’t give the two as much time to bond as one might think.
“I feel like all we talk about is the store right now,” Compton said. “I told her the other day that we needed to go somewhere together so we can talk about anything besides the store because it’s been a lot with buying it June 1 and moving it July 1.”
It’s not always easy trying to run the store together. There are a few challenges along the way, but the two always manage to find some type of compromise.
“We do have different ideas about things like shopping. I like different things than she does,” Campbell said. “We just compromise. It’s just give and take.”
Compton runs the store and is there every day while Campbell works a day or two each week doing all the bookkeeping and paying the bills. Even little Everly does her share in the store.
“When she’s not eating, she pretty much goes and helps the customers and asks them what they’re looking for, asks them if she can help them and shows them different things and tries to be personal shopper,” Compton said.
Despite the ups and downs of being a mother-daughter team, the two really enjoy owning Willow Tree.
“It’s fun. It’s like shopping and buying cute little baby clothes,” Campbell said after describing how the two take trips to San Francisco every so often to purchase clothing for the store.
“It’s fun because most of our customers are coming in to buy gifts, and it’s always such an exciting time to buy a baby gift,” Compton said. “All the sweet little grandmas we get in here, they’re just so excited they are having grandkids and their friends are having grandkids. It’s fun helping people pick the perfect gifts. It’s just something that’s been a really good fit for us”
According to the mother-daughter duo, since they’ve taken ownership of Willow Tree business has gone very well, and they’ve sold out of a few items.
Now that they are settled in their new location, the two have some new plans for the store.
The next time they purchase clothing for the store, they plan to expand their sizing selection from size 4 to size 6. Coming up the store plans to have pop-up shops, childbirthing classes and workshops and activities for children. They will also be collaborating with other local businesses to provide activities for children.
In addition to clothing, Willow Tree also offers toys, accessories and blankets. The store also has a play area, a changing station, and an area for moms and dads to nurse or feed their children.
Compton enjoys running Willow Tree because it allows her to have more time with her daughter while connecting with other moms. Willow Tree is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To learn more about the store visit the Willow Tree Children’s Boutique page on Facebook, visit their Instagram @willowtreelodi or call the store at 209-339-7300.