Business

Couple adds Once Upon a Child clothing store to portfolio

Jan Krob of Tipton shops for her 14 grandchildren at Once Upon a Child in Coralville on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. The resale shop sells children’s clothing, shoes, strollers, toys and more. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Jan Krob of Tipton shops for her 14 grandchildren at Once Upon a Child in Coralville on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. The resale shop sells children’s clothing, shoes, strollers, toys and more. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CORALVILLE — After expanding their family, a Coralville couple expanded their business portfolio by opening a children’s resale store.

Matt and Karen Orvick opened Once Upon a Child in Coralville on Sept. 27.

The store is a franchise that specializes in buying and selling new and used children’s clothes, toys, furniture and related equipment. The business pays cash for items that are in good condition and meet all safety standards, and then resells those items at up to 70 percent off regular retail prices.

Matt Orvick said he and his wife saw the need for the business after their first child was born early last year.

“We ended up getting a lot of hand-me-down clothes for him,” he said. “It’s hard to find reasonably priced clothes, especially considering he’s not in the clothes for very long.”

Bringing a Once Upon a Child franchise to Coralville seemed like an obvious next step to the new parents.

In 2012, the Orvicks had moved to the area to open a Plato’s Closet franchise. That store buys and sells used clothing and accessories for teens and young adults.

Both it and Once Upon a Child are part of the Winmark Corp. group of retail resale brands.

“Once Upon a Child sells clothes from birth to age 12 or 13, and then Plato’s Closet sells clothes for the older kids,” Matt said. “It all works together.”

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The Orvicks first discovered Winmark and the retail resale while working together at a Whirlpool facility in Michigan. Rumors of impending layoffs at the facility prompted the couple, then dating, to start talking about other career options. Although the layoffs never came to pass for either of them, Matt decided to make a career change anyway.

After learning the Iowa City market was available for a Plato’s Closet, he and his future wife moved forward with a franchise of their own. Matt’s sister and brother-in-law, who live in the Chicago area, are silent partners in both businesses.

“Iowa City was the only Big Ten campus without a Plato’s Closet,” Matt said. “We had been here for a wedding and wanted to stay in the Midwest.”

In addition, they believed the transient nature of a college town was well suited to the retail resale concept.

“A lot of people move in and out of Iowa City because of the hospital and the school,” he said. “People don’t want to pack up and move stuff they no longer need.”

Matt quit his job to open Plato’s Closet, while Karen transferred to the Whirlpool facility in Amana. Shortly after they opened the store in February 2013, they got married.

Now, with a toddler at home, they have a greater appreciation of the value of their businesses to parents like them.

“From our personal life, we know how expensive it is to raise children today,” Matt said. “We are offering an affordable option for families.”

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l Know a business that’s been in operation for less than a year that would make for an interesting “Ground Floor”? Let us know at michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a Glance

l Owners: Matt and Karen Orvick

l Business: Once Upon a Child

l Address: 2008 Eighth St., Coralville

l Phone: (319) 351-2491

l Email: onceuponachildcoralville@gmail.com

l Website: www.onceuponachildcoralville.com

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