EDWARDSVILLE - Charlie Rae will welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus and community members for a free “Kick Start Christmas with Charlie Rae” event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

The children’s boutique, located at 100 N. Main Street in Edwardsville, is celebrating two months since its opening with this completely free event. Steele the Moments by Hannah will offer professional photos with Santa, and visitors can enjoy a hot chocolate bar and Christmas cookies. Donations will be accepted for the Metro East Humane Society.

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Charlie Rae owner Clarinda Martin opened the storefront in mid-October after two years of online-only sales. The boutique sells a variety of clothing for babies and kids. Martin, who has twins, realized there weren’t many “kid options” in the area, which inspired her to open Charlie Rae.

“It’s been going really good. It’s a lot busier than I expected,” Martin said. “Edwardsville’s really been supportive of my business, which is great. And seeing all the kids come in, like, slightly makes me want another baby. All the babies that come in are so adorable.”

Martin decided to host Kick Start Christmas with Charlie Rae because she wants the business to be involved in the community. Her husband Buck noted that a storefront is “a whole different ball game” than an online store because it allows Martin to get to know her customers and fellow business owners, which she enjoys.

Charlie Rae has already been able to collaborate with other local businesses. They recently partnered with Mojo’s Music in Edwardsville; if you purchase a kid-sized guitar at Charlie Rae, you receive a month of free lessons at Mojo’s. The boutique will share more information about promotions like this, including several holiday deals, during the Kick Start Christmas event.

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These relationships are important to Martin, who moved to Edwardsville as a young adult to attend SIUE. Now, as she raises her family and business in her adopted hometown, she hopes that the boutique can help foster community and connection through events like Kick Start Christmas.

“I think supporting the community is very important,” Martin added. “It’s nice being able to give back to the town. I didn’t grow up here as a kid, but to be here since I was 19, Edwardsville’s helped shape me a lot. It’s nice getting to be on the other end of that.”

Kick Start Christmas with Charlie Rae will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. To shop or to learn more about the boutique, visit their official website at CharlieRae.com or stop by the storefront at 100 N. Main Street in Edwardsville.

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