“I’ve always shopped resale,” says Elyssa Mount, co-owner, along with Marni Hochman, of Grow With Me, which opened in 2008 as a tiny children’s resale store in an obscure plaza on Jackson west of Zeeb. Mount, an Ann Arbor native, had another reason to go into business: her son is autistic, and she wanted to raise money for autism research. Possibly no one ever told her that new businesses usually have trouble paying the rent, let alone employees, and she would be crazy to expect to have money left over for charity. Possibly she didn’t hear them. At any rate, as of last October, Grow With Me had donated more than $8,500 to the Ann Arbor Autism Foundation and the Judson Center.
The store, says Mount, was almost immediately bursting at the seams. Finally they decided to move to Westgate, a few doors down from Barry Bagels. Mount says it’s fitting: “I always loved Westgate. I grew up near there. I worked at Barry Bagels when I was a teenager.” The move should be complete by late May.
In addition to children’s clothing, Mount also carries new and gently used toys, equipment, “princessy items, tutus, halos,” and a few local crafts. The merchandise at Grow With Me isn’t focused toward autism in any way, though Mount says her core customer base is thirty or forty families in the autism community that come as far away as Flint and Ohio to show their support.
Grow With Me, 2521 Jackson Ave. (Westgate). 622-0224. Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. www.growwithme123.com.
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