SOUTH-CENTRAL : Clothing Store Is All in the Family

Family meetings can be serious business. Just ask Tracy Kincy Morrison.

Nearly a year after Kincy Morrison first met with about 20 relatives to discuss opening a family-owned business, the clan celebrated the grand opening of Rag-A-Muff'N, their small-children's resale clothing store on Central Avenue.

"We were always talking about starting a family business," said Kincy Morrison, the marketing manager. With nearly $5,000 in capital, she said, the family secured a small first-floor office at the historic Dunbar Hotel for their store at 4231 Central Ave.

"We decided we wanted to do a quality children's store, but we couldn't afford to bring in name brands like Guess. People here can't afford to pay $40 for a new pair of overalls."

The business strategy may pay off for the partnership, which netted nearly $200 in its first day of sales last week. Kincy Morrison is optimistic that sales will top the $60,000 mark in the store's first year.

But she and other family members insist their goal goes beyond making a profit.

"Look, we're here because no one is going to invest in this community if we don't do it ourselves," said Olivia Thompson Green, a co-owner of the store and Kincy Morrison's niece.

Standing amid racks of designer-name overalls and tops for children up to age 7, Kincy Morrison greeted passersby who walked in, encouraging them to check the prices--most of which are less than $20--and urging them to tell their friends about the newest store on the block.

The store, which is open Mondays through Saturdays, is selling merchandise on consignment for area families. The family is also making plans for similar stores in Watts and Compton.

The family venture drew praise from the Dunbar Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit organization whose focus includes attracting capital to South-Central. "This is an opportunity to bring family-owned businesses that offer goods and services to the community back to Central Avenue," said Anthony Scott of Dunbar.

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