Amy Collins, a Reading native and owner of Goodhearts Children’s Shop, is opening a new location at 605 Main Street at the beginning of December. This expansion marks a new chapter for an established Reading business and hopes to walk with its young client base into the next important stage of their life.
Collins got her degree in Consumer Studies at UMass Amherst after graduating from RMHS. She was a corporate buyer for a long time but had always wanted her own business, so when Goodhearts went up for sale in 2014, she jumped at the opportunity.
With an infant, corporate life had become increasingly difficult. Goodhearts was already a very established business that Collins was excited to cultivate. “It already had a great reputation and was already filled with great brands,” said Collins.
One of Collins’ greatest successes since taking over the business has been expanding Goodheart’s services for special events, like Christenings and First Communions, as the largest portion of Goodheart’s business comes from First Communions and new baby gifts.
Goodhearts is also known for special baby gifts and “take me home from the hospital” outfits. Goodheart’s provides gift-wrapping as well on their products, and Collins has even seen people come in to buy a gift and have it wrapped on the way to a baby shower.
During the pandemic, they made their appointment-based program much more intimate than before. Each appointment became the only group in the store to try on dresses and suits, allowing the Goodheart’s staff to provide undivided attention to their customers.
“We made coming and getting your dress or your suit a memorable occasion,” said Collins. “It has really set us apart from just walking into a store or buying a dress online.”
Collins sees customers coming into Goodhearts from all over the area for their services. She credits a lot of the business she gets from word-of-mouth, as well as their social media presence. Collins also has observed a new group of clientele coming in and shopping local in the wake of the pandemic because small businesses can provide good service and comfort.
“Customers found with us that they can come in and for only a couple more dollars it was easy, it was convenient, they felt safe in a small environment, they left with their gift wrapped, and the customer service was there,” said Collins. “I think a lot of people came back to shopping Main Street through those times.”
Goodheart’s upcoming location, Lovestruck, is intended for older girls for when they outgrow the sizes offered at Goodhearts (through 6X). Collins wants Lovestruck to serve as a way for them to keep growing with their customers, who shop for the milestones of their early years. There will still be many milestones to come, and Collins is excited for Lovestruck so they “can continue to grow with her.”
Collins is looking forward to continuing contributing to the downtown Reading community with the opening of Lovestruck in December. She hopes to have at least a soft opening for Shop the Block and sell product during holiday shopping.
She is looking forward to having events coming back after the last couple of years, especially Shop the Block. Collins credits the town for driving people downtown for the holidays, and the exposure is great for Reading’s small businesses. Goodhearts is also looking forward to having Santa come to their shop for photos on December 3.