By Valerie Baldowski
A local store for children has once again been recognized for its level of customer service.
Once Upon A Child, located at 3584 Ga. Highway 138 S.E., near the Clayton-Henry county line, earned the "Gold Standard" designation from Winmark Corp., its corporate office, according to the store's owner, Wyndolyn Reese.
This marks the second consecutive year the store has received the award, said Reese.
The shop is a re-seller of gently used children's clothes. In addition to clothing, the store also has toys, infants' and children's shoes, strollers, cribs, and accessories.
Reese learned that her store achieved Gold Status again, earlier this month.
"I was excited to know that we're following procedure, and we have good quality things for our customers," she said. "We're a franchise, and so they want things done a certain way, so that's why we've been recognized. We follow up what they want us to do."
She said the company has more than 200 store locations throughout the United States.
To make the Gold Standard, her store must ensure that all of the equipment and toys it sells, are safe. The shop is required to have Internet service, in order to check the status of the latest product recalls, she explained.
"Safety is our first priority," continued Reese.
The customer service aspect figures prominently in what price to offer when customers present items to sell back to the store, she said.
"It's a lot," added the store owner. "We have to educate our customers on what to bring in, and how to bring it in.
"We don't want to waste their time," she said. " If they've got a piece of furniture, we encourage them to, please, look it up on the Internet, or give us a call. We'll look it up for them, so they won't lug a big crib in here, and then, we can't take it."
A steady stream of customers entered with bags of clothes to sell on a busy day last week, and lined up in front of the counter. Reese and several store associates inspected each item, and bought some of them.
At the front counter, shopper, Tonya Johnson, brought in a load of children's clothes, which she sold back to the store.
When not stopping in to sell clothes, Johnson, of McDonough, comes in to hunt for clothes for her 7-year-old daughter, and her 8-year-old son.
"I shop here, probably once a week," she said. "I'm looking for something for my 7-and 8-year-olds, name-brand clothes, inexpensive. So I don't spend an arm and a leg, I come here."
When she buys at the store, Johnson said, she appreciates the price and the quality of the clothes. When she sells, she said, the store is careful not to accept stained or dirty clothing.
Johnson chooses to sell her children's' used clothing at Once Upon A Child, to support the store. "I feel like I'm giving back, and I want to keep the store open, so I'm constantly bringing stuff in," she added.
In another part of the store, Jessica Goddard kept track of her 2-and-a-half year-old son, Landon, while she shopped for clothes to fit a baby due in 2011.
Mariette Whitehurst walked down one aisle, and began browsing through racks of children's clothes, to find outfits for her five grandsons.
Whitehurst, of Rex, picked a black children's belt, and some infant's clothing items from one rack, but kept searching. "I'm not done, by any means," she said.
Whitehurst had the belt on her shopping list, because one of her grandsons requested it. "I had to get a belt, and I said, 'Honey, are you sure want to get a belt?'" she said. "He wanted a black belt, and he only asked for five things."