Shop Owner Susann Gerstein told Reston Now that she opened the shop at the age of 32 with her two friends Kathy Paolini and Margaret Johnson. (Paolini retired in 1989, followed by Johnson in 2002.)
As young moms, the three women wanted to provide families with affordable toys and clothes at Lake Anne Plaza — what Gerstein calls “the heart and soul of Reston.”
“From the beginning, we were hoping to create a community space for families to shop and play and chat and that has been my biggest satisfaction, because it really has turned out that way,” Gerstein said. “It is a true community space.”
The shop originally opened in the space that Dogma Bakery now occupies before moving to its current and larger spot at 1629 N. Washington Plaza.
Even with twice the space, Small Change is nearly bursting with rows of kids’ and maternity clothing and toys, including a large selection of ones from Melissa and Doug. Right next to the front door is the Best of Reston award that the shop won in 1992.
Fast forward nearly 40 years, a “skyrocketed” rent is the reason for the closure in June, which Gerstein announced at the end of a panel on International Women’s Day (March 8).
When asked about the upcoming closure by a customer in the shop today (April 4), Gerstein described it as part of the life cycle of businesses at the plaza.
She is hopeful, though, that the store can survive at a different location under new owners.
“There are so many people who want us to stay open,” Gerstein said, adding that people should keep an eye on the Facebook page for the next few months after the shop closes for any announcements about a re-opening elsewhere.
People can drop off clothes to sell through the third week of April.
The shop also has a range of discounts, which will increase as the closing date nears, Gerstein said. Toys are nearly 40 percent off and winter clothes are 80 percent off. Spring and summer attire will have pop-up sales on different days that will get announced on Facebook
“It’s been such a great adventure,” Gerstein said.