BirchBay clothing designer opens new store at outlet center

Published on Thu, Sep 1, 2005 by ara Nelson

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Birch Bay clothing designer opens new store at outlet center

By Tara Nelson

Patrice Greguski, of Birch Bay, had been thinking for some time about starting a business in which she could use her poetry writing skills, the only question was how.

Greguski, who worked as an escrow officer in real estate for 15 years and raised two children – ages 20 and eight – said she wanted to get back into the workforce but felt her former career was too demanding.
“It was a very stressful way to live,” she said, although she admitted the experience was ideal training with regard to management of her own business.

And then the idea came to her via Oprah.

After watching an episode of the popular daytime show which encouraged stay-at-home moms to start small businesses, Greguski said she envisioned a terry cloth beach bag with ribboned letters. It was that vision that prompted her to start her own clothing line, Lil’ Beach Angels.

At first she supplied her brand of infant and toddler wear on the internet and to such retailers as Semiahmoo Resort and Bumblebees store in Lynden. But then she decided to take it a step further. She and her husband, John, opened the Lil’ Beach Angels store July 30 at Birch Bay Square. Business has been better than expected, she said.

Greguski said she named the store after a poem she wrote about being buried at the beach. Greguski, who grew up in Florida, lived in Alaska and moved to the Birch Bay area more than 15 years ago, said she has a particular attachment to beaches partly because she lived by the ocean most of her life. Her bright blue eyes seem to light up every time she unwraps an item from the new fall line of Tea brand clothing,

“Look at these corduroy pants,” she said. “They are so cute.”

In addition to Greguski’s line, Lil’ Beach Angels also features locally-made clothing such as Wee Step, a toddler shoe line made in Point Roberts, Bunnies By The Bay clothing from La Conner, and Patty Cakes Design clothing from Seattle.

Greguski also said 10 percent of the profit from her clothing line is donated to children’s charities.

Lil’ Beach Angels is located at Birch Bay Square formerly known as the Peace Arch Factory Outlet Mall at 3400 Birch Bay-Lynden Road, suite B-2, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Their phone number is 366-2637.