Amanda Sanchez is the model of a young entrepreneur—the 27-year-old divorced mother of two young sons owns and operates Eco In Chico Baby’s Boutique, a shop that sells “green” babies’ and children’s items. “It’s a friendly place where you can shop with your little ones,” Sanchez said of the almost 4-year-old business, which sports a cheery bright-green and white interior. The business carries many locally made items, and has been a launching point for several area entrepreneurs. A personable young woman with vivid dark eyes, Sanchez worked in the restaurant and retail industries as a teenager, married at 19, had her first child at 20, and then provided foster care for infants for four years until deciding to open a business. “It’s really just a dream come true,” she said. Eco In Chico is located at 1803 Mangrove Ave. For more info, visit www.ecoinchico.net or call 898-8687.
Why did you decide to open a “green” store?
I grew up shopping with my mom in antique and second-hand shops, and I always dreamed of owning my own baby store. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I was into the other used baby [clothes] stores. And there was something I wanted to do a little differently; I wanted to be able to offer the new along with the locally made and used. I always saw a way of how I wanted to do it.
What kinds of products do you offer?
I spend a lot of time researching product background. Pretty much everything in the store is locally made, recycled, or made in the U.S. I have around 65 local vendors. A number of them have been launched from my store and now have products on sites such as Zulily.com. It started off with two local vendors, and it just grew! I like that I can offer the little unique things that somebody’s made and that people will remember.
What are a few of those items?
Hand-made wooden toys, girls’ dresses made from vintage tablecloths, birthday hats and shirts, capes and crowns.
What else do you sell?
I have both boys’ and girls’ rooms full of gently used clothing. As your baby grows, you can get store credit for larger-size items. I have used baby gear, such as strollers, around seven lines of cloth diapers. And much more!
What else happens in Eco In Chico?
A Fair View High School teacher sends teen moms here [for affordable shopping]. Sometimes I talk with them about how I was 19 when I had my first child. They get a lot of negative messages. I like to give them something positive.