Q: What is the name of your business?
A: Baby Bug & Me Children’s Boutique.
Q: Who owns the business?
A: Judy and Jim Novinger.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We have been in the retail business 18 years, starting as Lightning Bug Fine Gifts in New Cumberland. Store # 2, Baby Bug & Me Children’s Boutique, opened in 2002. In 2004 we made the decision to close the gift store and dedicate all our efforts to the children’s boutique, which we felt needed more at the time.
Q: Can you provide a description of your business?
A: Baby Bug & Me is an upscale children’s boutique that provides stylish and trendy clothing for boys (preemie to 4t) and girls (preemie to 14). We are able to meet christening, dedication, wedding and first communion needs. The Shoetique, our shoe store, offers Pedipeds, Robeez and See Kai Run, all endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). We have proudly introduced Livie & Luca, our newest fashion-forward shoe company. We size and fit little feet from sizes newborn to 2. Not to be forgotten, we are your one-stop-shop for toys and books.
Q: What is your background—your education and work experience?
A: A Millersville University graduate in elementary education, I initially taught until we began our family. I spent 20 years following my naval officer husband around the U.S. and Southeast Asia, doing substitute teaching in four different states.
Q: How did you get started in this business? How did you get the background and skills necessary to run it?
A: It was in 1986, during our last active-duty station in Okinawa, Japan, when I chose to manage two import shops, taking a leave from education and beginning my new career in retail. Upon returning to the states in 1989, I attempted to return to education, only to find a very limited field available and a plethora of teachers ready to fill any openings. At this time I took a detour and was hired as an assistant buyer at the Bon Ton department store. Knowing nothing about buying, I was trained by this company in the skills necessary to buy for 129 stores. I went on to be the buyer for gifts, luggage and Christmas décor/gifts. Once again, providence stepped in and another change occurred. This time I became a manufacturer’s rep, selling gifts to stores in Central Pennsylvania. Having learned store management, buying and sales, I decided to open my first store, Lightning Bug Fine Gifts in New Cumberland (1997-2004). As Happy Days spun off Laverne & Shirley, Baby Bug became a spinoff from the gift shop, opening in Camp Hill in 2002. Our last move in 2007 has brought us to Lemoyne, where you can find us above the West Shore Farmers Market.
Q: What is your biggest challenge as a small business owner?
A: My customers are the heart of my business. It is essential to find new and unique items to please the wide range of tastes for those shopping at Baby Bug & Me. It’s an exciting challenge to meet their needs.