Business

Starting out small and fuzzyStore's owners say Madrone Lane is the new retail hot spot downtown.

"Small may be beautiful, but Ivey Patton hopes it's also temporary.On Friday, she will open her new children's clothing store on Madrone Lane, north of Winslow Way, in a cozy -- a very cozy -- space.The best case scenario would be to outgrow the space, Patton said. But it's an ideal location with a lot of foot traffic. And baby clothes don't take up a lot of room.Her store, called the Fuzzy Monkey, will sell clothes for infants and tots as well as gifts, skin-care products, toys and various other accessories for the newborn-to-six age group she is targeting.We're going to have everything you need for little kids, she said.The space, a couple of doors up the lane from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, has had a succession of short-term occupants, the most recent of which was Ivey's husband Matt Patton, a personal strategist and coach.He didn't really need the office space, because most of what he does is on the phone, Ivey Patton said.He was going to move the office home. So we thought about whether we would just give the space up, and decided to do this instead.The decision to open a retail outlet was prompted in part by what Matt saw out the window while he occupied the space.I began taking note of the traffic, which was mostly mothers and young children, he said.Churchmouse has really opened up Madrone Lane as a commercial area. People are looking down here for more shops.A children's store had been in Ivey's mind for some time.I've always wanted a kid's shop, she said. I have a 2-year-old, so it's time to go back to work.The plan began taking shape in February, which Patton found is not the best time to begin a clothing venture.You're between seasons, she said. It's too late to do much ordering for spring and summer, and too early for fall. So we'll probably start a little slow.The couple, with the assistance of toddler Max, have been converting the former office to a store. They painted the walls a bright blue - a really, really bright blue.The cabinets and the racks are going up. The inventory is coming out of cardboard boxes. And what is to be the counter - it will be white and silver, Patton said - now is two boards on the floor, waiting to be constructed.It's going to be very jazzy, even though you can't see it yet, she said. There will be lots of stuff here for kids to play with. We're going to have a fish, too, but she's not here yet either.The Pattons hail originally from Georgia, Ivey from the southern part of the state near the Florida border, and Matt from Atlanta. They traveled for awhile before lighting in Port Townsend, then moved to Bainbridge because of its proximity to Seattle.Ivey Patton worked in retail for awhile. She has also done designing and worked in a pottery studio.For the last two years she's been a fulltime mom, and said Max is the real inspiration for this store.Initially, the plan was to offer both used and new clothing, but the small space did scotch that idea. Lacking room for both, they decided to go exclusively with new.Patton knows there is competition on the island from Children's Corner in Lynwood Center, Skookum's in Winslow Green, Something I Need on Winslow Way and perhaps others.What she plans to offer is different lines of clothing, lines that she says can't be found elsewhere.I'm trying to find vendors that don't have outlets on the island, she said. My sister has a store in Georgia, and she gave me a line on some vendors.She is particularly tickled about finding what she thinks is a great-looking diaper bag.Diaper bags are notoriously ugly, she said. But ours are so cool you might want to carry one around even if you don't have diapers. "

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