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Pitter Patter under care of new owners

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Local children's consignment store now part of regional Baby and Me business


Pitter Patter sold to new owners last fall and the new owners have been making some changes both to the interior appearance of the store and how it operates.

The children's consignment store, located downtown at 308 E. First St., is now part of Baby & Me, a growing regional children's consignment business with multiple locations around the Portland area.

Owners Anita Winters-Herold and Mary Wygal bought Pitter Patter from former owner Jennifer Johnston, and while the name remains the same and the purple lights lining the windows are still there, much has changed inside.GARY ALLEN - Anita Winters-Herold (left) and Mary Wygal are the new owners of Pitter Patter in downtown Newberg on First Street. They also own several children's consignment stores under the Baby & Me name around the Portland area.

The store has been painted and reorganized and the new owners have changed some of the policies as well. Consignors who wish to sell their items can now drop them off 21 days a month, an increase from the previous eight days per month.

"What we're trying to do is make it easier for the consignment to get here," Wygal said.

Winters-Herold and Wygal began their business venture more than 17 years ago after some big changes in their lives: they were both raising young children and Winters-Herold's young son had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

As their lives were changing they both realized their former jobs working in high-end retail were no longer a perfect fit and they began thinking about career changes.

"We both wanted the flexibility to be moms and support our families," Winters-Herold said.

One day, Wygal had an idea: the two friends could open up a children's consignment store, selling gently used goods for young families. As they thought more about it and began planning, they became serious about the idea. They went through consulting with the Small Business Administration and came up with a business plan.

Then, Wygal happened upon a classified ad listing a children's consignment store in Cedar Mill outside of Portland.

"I recycled the paper and then I went, what about just going and talking to these people?" she recalled. "At least we'll glean some information from them."

Although they had planned to start a store from scratch, as they talked with the owners of Baby & Me in Cedar Mill, Winters-Herold and Wygal decided it seemed like a good fit. Four months later, they bought the store.

Since that purchase in 1999, the business has grown to another location in Tigard and an outlet store in Hillsboro. They have also returned slightly back into the high-end clothing business with a different consignment store in Portland.

Purchasing Pitter Patter completes a sort of cycle for the business.

"We were going to start one from scratch, we bought that one, then we started everything else from scratch, and now we're back to buying one," Wygal said. "So we've gone back and forth."

The Newberg store is the most distant location from Portland for the Baby & Me chain, but the owners noted that it's similar to the Tigard location since they're both on Highway 99W.

The store will hold a grand re-opening ceremony to introduce the new owners and show some of the changes that have been made, scheduled for the first weekend in March.

For more information, visit http://www.pitter-patter newberg.com/ or http://www.babyandmepdx.com/.