By JUDY SHERARD
PHILLIPSBURG -- It's a big leap from office manager in the automotive industry to owning a children's clothes resale boutique, but Colleen Ryan is making the jump.
Originally from the Detroit area, Ryan plans to open Meah's Closet in downtown Phillipsburg this spring.
Meah, Ryan's and Wes Russom's daughter, inspired the name.
Russom and Ryan have known one another for approximately a dozen years since both lived in Michigan. They renewed their acquaintance nearly two years ago after Russom moved to Kansas.
They've lived in Phillipsburg approximately two years.
Ryan said she's had the idea for the boutique for a while, but it germinated after seeing how many children participated in last year's Halloween costume contest.
"We don't have a lot of shopping options here," she said. "Being from Michigan, the shopping options are unlimited. ... Kids grow so fast that they're growing out of their clothes before they're used. We have three kids of our own, so every season, I'm buying a new wardrobe."
The couple's other children are Makenna Russom, 7, and Brady Russom, 4.
"Makenna is very excited about the store. She wants to know when she can start working," Ryan said.
While it will be a resale boutique, it won't be a consignment store.
Wes Russom sees that as a definite benefit.
People will get "cash on the spot," he said.
"You're getting some money for them and able to shop at reasonable prices for clothes that are almost new," Ryan said.
She might add baby equipment such as swings, high chairs and bouncers later.
"You spend so much money on baby things, and they use it for such a short time."
Ryan and Russom are renovating the building, a former restaurant, at 977 Third. Like Meah's nursery, the boutique will be decorated in orange and lime green.
"I've never been a pink girl. It's just not my thing," Ryan said.
The boutique will be kid-friendly.
"I want to be able to bring Meah there. I don't want to do day care. I want to be able to raise my own kids."