Bib 'n Crib Owner Calls it a Day

By Nancy Rineman

Atlantic News, May 18, 2000

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News
PASSING THE TORCH -- Kama George (left) a long-time customer of Bib 'n Crib is taking the reins of the store as Nancy Gordon call it a day at the specialty store in the heart of Hampton.

HAMPTON -- After nearly four decades of family ownership, The Bib 'n Crib Shoppe in downtown Hampton will no longer have Nancy Gordon at the helm.

"I just retired as of Wednesday morning," Gordon told the Atlantic News last week, as she sat in her husband's companion business, Gordon's Shoe Store. She reminisced about the earlier years associated with her children's specialty clothing shop, as well as her immediate plans for the future, after a 39 year stint in the heart-of-Hampton business.

After working with her mother, Della Robinson, the original owner of the Bib 'n Crib, Gordon took over the store 11 years later. That was 28 years ago. Now she admits her biggest thrill in recent years has been working with a second generation of shoppers, as many of her customers are grandparents who at one time shopped there for their own children.

Gordon took her first step toward retirement by closing the nearby Prep Shop, her store for older children's clothing needs, last December. The Lafayette Road building was sold in February. While she had announced her plans to eventually sell the Bib 'n Crib, it was just before Christmas when Gordon's conversation with a shopper started the ball rolling in the direction of a new owner.

"It has been kind of bittersweet, selling the Bib 'n Crib," Gordon said. "But, I've put it in very good hands."

The very good hands she was referring to are those of Kama George, a long-time customer of the store, who just happened to be on the receiving end of Gordon's plans to sell the business while shopping in the Prep Shop last December.

George admitted the possibility of buying the Bib 'n Crib made her so excited she was unable to sleep that night.

"This was the right opportunity for me — perfect timing," George said. "I was so happy it worked out."

George, whose education and back-ground is in retailing, said one of her immediate goals is to introduce a furniture line to customers, expanding on the "crib" portion of the shop's sign. While promoting the concept of providing complete outfits for children, George sees the prospect of adding cribs to her inventory as providing "one stop shopping" for mothers and mothers-to-be. George also plans to be open on Sundays through the summer season beginning in June.

A native of Salisbury, MA, George may be a familiar face to those who frequented her parents' former restaurant, Sailor Bill's, where George herself worked for a number of years. Now a resident of Newburyport, she plans to relocate to Hampton soon.

Last week's closing saw Gordon present new owner George with a red box with a heart on the top. Inside lay a red velvet pouch boasting a gold heart key chain with two keys to the Bib 'n Crib. Gordon said her words to George were, "I put my heart and soul into this business and I know you will, too." Both said it was an emotional postscript to the closing.

As for Nancy Gordon, her present involvement with the June 7 fashion show and auction to benefit Seacoast Big Brothers and Big Sisters keeps her busy, as her seat on the organization's board of directors is one of her major projects. After that, she says a week's vacation is in order.

"I don't ever remember a summer off," Gordon said, adding, "I want to take up golf, seriously this time! That will be great this summer."

And although she has already ordered next season's fall and winter lines, Gordon will be accompanying George on buying trips when her first season with Hampton's landmark store rolls around. The veteran store owner even says the idea of working for someone else is a possibility, adding that she has already had a couple of job offers.

Now all eyes turn to Bob Gordon, Nancy's husband, owner of Gordon's Shoe Store. While the couple's intent is to join the ranks of the retired, Bob Gordon would only comment that there are currently no official plans in the works involving the sale of his business.