The Adopted Closet

Brittany Berrie, owner of The Adopted Closet in DeWitt, stands next to her 11-year-old daughter, Gracie, in front of her store at 814 10th St., DeWitt. All net profits from the store go to pay attorney fees for families adopting children.

DEWITT — Brittany Berrie knows what a true blessing adoption is — after all, in July, she was able to officially adopt her oldest child and one of the loves of her life, her 11-year-old daughter, Gracie.

However, Berrie also knows just how costly the adoption process can be for families.

So, she came up with a business concept that not only combines her passion for fashion and adoption, but also financially supports those who are looking to legally make a child part of their family.

Berrie is the owner of The Adopted Closet, 814 10th St., in DeWitt.

Tucked into a residential area, the business is located inside Berrie’s four-car garage at the home she shares with her partner, Branden, and their three children: Gracie, 3-year-old Boston, and 2-year-old Montana.

Berrie sells clothing and shoes for children, men and women — ranging in sizes from preemie to 4X men’s.

While she purchases some of her inventory at garage sales, Berrie said The Adopted Closet thrives off donations.

What sets her business apart from others that sell resale clothing is that the net profit from the store helps to cover the costs of attorney’s fees for families adopting children.

Personal story

Gracie, Berrie said, is the inspiration behind The Adopted Closet.

She first met her daughter when Gracie was just 3 days old and has been raising her since she was 4 weeks old.

However, it wasn’t until Berrie’s cousin offered to pay for her and Branden to legally adopt Gracie that she became an official part of their family.

“I struggled with how to thank my cousin for what she did,” Berrie related. “I was talking to my mom during a garage sale at her house, and I thought, ‘Let’s help someone else pay for (an adoption).’ So, we started buying garage-sale clothes. We had an overwhelming amount of people donate to us. It started out as an end-of-the-summer sale but then I thought, this could be a store.”

And now it is.

Berrie said attorney fees for adoptions differ depending on who the attorneys are, circumstances for the birth parents, and if the children are in foster care.

But typically, bills can amount to upwards of $12,000 or more.

The Adopted Closet will provide funding for its first adoption in November, which also happens to be National Adoption Month.

Regular business hours for the store are Thursdays and Fridays, 1-7 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The hours will remain in effect through November. During the winter, Berrie hopes to launch the store’s website so individuals can place orders online.

Berrie said she had a big crowd for the city-wide garage sales in September. In fact, the first day she sold almost 400 pieces of clothing.

She said she constantly is replenishing her inventory, and as a result always needs more. Donation boxes for The Adopted Closet are located at the store in DeWitt; at 1535 W. Geo. Washington Blvd. in Davenport; and at 1610 Mississippi Blvd. in Bettendorf.

Berrie said she hopes to add more drop-box locations to the list.

The clothing is looked over several times to ensure there are no holes or stains and that it doesn’t look worn.

People can visit the store’s Facebook page, The Adopted Closet, for more information.

Future events

On Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving), Berrie will have Santa at the store. Free photos with him will be available with purchase.

Berrie said she is looking for a storage unit and needs donations of storage tubs with lids.

She hopes that one day The Adopted Closet will have its own storefront, allowing her space to sort, store and properly display her inventory.

In the meantime, she just hopes to generate enough business to help others the way her cousin so generously helped her.

“I really hope it goes,” Berrie shared. “We’re just doing it one adoption at a time; we’re kind of just leaving it in God’s hands. People are excited about it. A lot of people from small towns around this area come here and say, ‘I wish we had a store like this in our town.’

“I just really like clothing. I love a good find. Guys get excited about a touchdown, I get excited about garage sales. And everybody has an adoption story … I love it. Everybody seems to know somebody who’s adopted. A lot of kids need to be shown what unconditional love is.”

Trending Video