Acts of Kindness: Peppypotamus puts clothes on kid's backs
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Inside the Shoppes at Gateway in Springfield, you'll find a store with a little more pep call Peppypotamus.
It's a store filled with new, previously owned and local clothing brands for children. The mission is to provide affordable kids clothing and give back to the community.
Victoria and Eric Sanne are a young couple who always had a big dream to start their own business. In November of 2016, they chased their dream and opened Peppypotamus.
Now with the store barely a hear old, Victoria and Eric say it's grown into something bigger than they ever imagined.
Eric says he was 25, and Victoria was 21 when they opened the doors to Peppypotamus, all with the goal to give to families that needed a little extra help.
"They grow out of it before they wear it out, so that's kind of the goal of the store," said Victoria.
"It's a way to offer a cheaper alternative rather than go to a retail store where an outfit could cost $20 for a little kid," said Eric.
For kids, retail can be a little different, since they tend to grow out of their clothes. So at Peppypotamus, people can bring in previoulsy owned kids clothes and get cash or trade value.
Since they opened a year ago, they have over fifty times the amount of inventory, and their customer base has grown as well.
"I absolutely love it, you know we kind of develop this friendship with everyone that walks in," said Victoria.
"I always say, 'My friend, my friend, my friend,'" said Eric, "and it's always people I met through the store. it's always amazing the friendships we've made over the year."
But recently, Peppyppotamus grew into something more than just another retail store, when a customer left clothing at the store that couldn't be resold.
"You know we have all these free items that people gave to us," said Eric. "Why not give them back to people who need clothes and can't afford to buy anything at the time?"
The Sannes started an event where families could come and pick up clothing and items for free.
"We thought maybe we could do it once every four months or something," said Eric. "But it turned into a monthly event."
Eric says that word traveled fast through the community, even to families hit hard by Hurricane Irma in Florida.
"We had people come in here with nothing, and everything was destroyed," said Eric. "And you know how long people have to wait for insurance checks and everything like that."
Stories like this are what keep Eric and Victoria going.
"Being a business owner is probably one of the hardest things we've ever done in our entire lives," said Victoria. "It makes childbirth seem like nothing. But to be able to have people come in and tell their story and what this is doing for them, and it's really heartwarming."