Butterfly Boutique is a small shop with a big purpose.
The N.C. Victim Assistance Network opened the nonprofit women’s resale shop in Olive Chapel Village in July as a way to expand its mission of supporting victims of violence.
“It’s been in the works for many, many years,” said Elizabeth Watson, executive director of NCVAN. “The goal ultimately is to sustain an emergency fund to help crime victims.”
Inside, the store looks more like a boutique than a thrift shop. That is by design, said Jennie Haskamp, manager of Butterfly Boutique. Clothes, shoes, handbags and jewelry are displayed to make shopping a good experience for customers.
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“It’s a great cause and a great destination for shopping,” she said.
Even the dressing rooms have an upscale look with cushioned benches and large mirrors. Stylish clothing – some with tags still on – fill the racks. Shoes, handbags and jewelry are also available.
“Everything you see was donated, including the light fixtures,” Haskamp said.
At the front of the store, Dolly, a mannequin, minds the window. Dolly has become the Butterfly Boutique spokeswoman of sorts on social media, often modeling new clothing items that have arrived.
“When Dolly wears something on Facebook, there is often a line at the door in the morning of people wanting to buy it,” Haskamp said.
Occasionally, a customer will miss the fact that Dolly doesn’t have thumbs – or a head – and ask to meet the witty sales associate.
Dolly brings a lighthearted air to a serious effort.
“It’s a heart project,” Watson said. “One-third of the board members are parents of murdered children.”
The name of the store is a nod to victims who are trying to make a change and emerge from the darkness.
Victims of violent crime often have immediate needs. Watson tells of a domestic violence victim in Chapel Hill whose tires were slashed by someone who had assaulted her.
“She couldn’t get to work and didn’t have the money for four tires,” Watson said. “We were able to help.”
NCVAN assists victims in all 100 counties of North Carolina, often providing travel funds for families to go to court.
Butterfly Boutique has a team of volunteers who sort and steam the clothing as it arrives. All sizes, from petite to plus, as well as maternity wear and formal dresses fill the racks. Any donated items that do not fit with the store’s inventory are loaded on to a trailer and sold by the pound.
Haskamp, who has been working at the store since September, said foot traffic has not been as heavy as she anticipated.
“But it’s picking up,” she said.
When mothers of preschool children lamented the noon opening time, Haskamp listened and began opening earlier.
“We need more people to shop,” she said. “We also need volunteers and donations.”
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About Butterfly Boutique
Location: 5404 Apex Peakway, Apex
Contact: 919-355-2542, firstname.lastname@example.org
Online: ButterflyBoutiqueNC.com and facebook.com/NCButterflyBoutique
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday