PEORIA – Both with careers in social services, Charles and Andrea Miner chose to do something a little lighter for their side gig.
The pair open a boutique for women, named It’s Miner Things, in the Sunbeam Building. The boutique will be filled with a fun assortment of womenswear, lingerie, hats, shoes, scarves and jewelry.
“It’s a mix of things because you never know what women will want – you women are picky,” Charles said as he sat on a decorative bench in the corner of the little shop Wednesday morning. “Our boutique caters to women of all cultures. I want to be able to serve all women, whether it’s a young lady or something for grandma. ”
Charles and Andrea both had long careers in social services. Andrea works at Heartland Health Services as a Supervisor of Community Outreach Services, and Charles has worked for the Boys and Girls Club and the Tri-County Urban League for several years. Today, the couple own a non-profit organization called THINK, acronym for There’s Hope in New Knowledge.
“Basically what I’m doing now is training,” Charles said. “Basically what I’m focusing on outside of the store is doing trainings on domestic violence, parenting and anger management and life skills. areas… I can teach up to 12 people at a time, and after their completion I can certify them if they need a certificate for the courts or DCFS.
Born and raised in New York City, Miner came to Peoria about 11 years ago after being offered a job at the Boys & Girls Club in Peoria. Miner got involved with the Boys & Girls Club while living in New York City after befriending the organization’s spokesperson, actor Denzel Washington. At that time Charles was volunteering with the organization – his first career was in fashion.
“When I left the army, I finished my studies. I majored in fashion at Pace University and landed my first job in the executive purchasing program at Gimbels, ”said Charles. “At that time there was a department store called Gimbels. buyer, then after several years, I became the main buyer.
Working for Gimbels in the mid-1980s, Charles traveled extensively to see fashion shows all over the world.
“I was in Milan, in France, in Paris. We go all around Europe in fashion shopping,” he said.
Charles was inspired to pursue a career in fashion by his older sister, who was a buyer for Famous Barr in St. Louis. Charles eventually made it to East St. Louis, where he has family, and he and his sister started a lingerie business.
After moving to Peoria to work at the Boys & Girls Club, Charles opened a store on Prospect Road called Chateau de Lingerie, which closed after about four years.
This will be Charles’ first major retail business since the closure of Chateau de Lingerie, and Andrea has never owned a store. While Charles will be the main trader, the couple work side by side to move the business forward.
“My wife, she has a very good eye. I rely on my wife a lot for things. Sometimes what I think might not be what I should go with. She’s the brains behind it all, to tell you the truth. I’m just doing the artistic part of it, ”Miner said.
Since Charles knows many people in the community through his work, word is already spreading about the new store. The pre-opening will take place on June 27 and the grand opening and ribbon cutting will take place on June 30. Store hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, visit the store’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Its-Miner-Things-105285618445223.
Leslie Renken can be reached at 270-8503 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.