Business Spotlight: Tot ’n Teen Shop
For half a century, Tot ‘n Teen has been dressing babies and children in fun fashions and classic keepsakes.
Pam Mizell, owner of Tot ‘n Teen, inherited the children’s boutique from her mother. She has been working six days a week for more than 30 years and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
“I do what I do because I’ve always done it. I grew up in it and I never really thought about doing anything else. I can’t imagine doing anything else, I don’t have hobbies – this is my hobby and this is what I love to do,” says Pam Mizell, owner of Tot N Teen.
Tot ‘n Teen is a long-time family business that started with Pam’s mother. Her family has always been in the restaurant and grocery business and when her dad died when she was just 10 years old, her mother needed to find a way to support her family. Like Pam, her mother always loved clothes and decided she was going to turn her love into a business and open a children’s clothing boutique.
Tot ‘n Teen carries an array of children clothing from infant to size 16 for girls and through size 14 for boys. Pam dresses children within Paducah and throughout the region as she serves customers from at least four states. Pam’s choice in clothing doesn’t conform to one particular style, but ranges across a broad spectrum from trendy to classic wardrobes for both girls and boys.
“After 50 years, we have lots of generations of family members who continue to shop at my store. We hear stories just about every week of people who keep outfits that their daughters wore to dress their granddaughters for keepsake photos. One family has shopped here for four generations. The grandmother was dressed here, the mother was dressed here and now the daughter is having her second child who will be dressed here.”
When asked about her favorite part about her job, Pam beamed and said, “The kids.” The store has a play area set up for the children as their parents and older siblings shop. She admits that she always misses seeing the children when she goes to market and she is always eager to return to her store where babies and children visit daily.
Compared to today, the retail market in the 1960s looked vastly different in Paducah. There was no mall nearby and Broadway was at the heart of Paducah’s retail center. Tot ‘n Teen opened its first location in Lone Oak and then moved to its location on Jackson Street in the 1980s.
Over the years, the retail market has changed. The mall and online shopping added another element of competition but Pam admits she hasn’t had any trouble withstanding the test of time with her shop.
“A lot of our customers are grandmothers who are less likely to shop online. We hear stories all the time about how something purchased online didn’t fit and how it was a hassle to send back. We do have people come in to buy something that they saw online, but they want to see in person and make sure it is a good fit.”
Tot ’n Teen Shop is located at 2945 Jackson Street in Paducah and is open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.