The pandemic led her to sell her day care. Then she opened a clothing boutique.
After more than 25 years running day cares in Lynbrook and Brookville, Mimi Grabovenko, 48, is shifting her energy to the more mature crowd. She, along with daughter Lia, 19, and childhood friend Lucrezia DiRico, 48, have opened a clothing store in Westbury — Luxe Refashioned Boutique.
And for this new career, she credits the pandemic. “Parents were telling me they were going to come back only a couple of hours, a couple days a week. These people had their kids in close to 10 hours a day and now were coming for two hours, two days a week.” She says she contemplated staying in the business until a student’s parent approached her about buying the Lynbrook building she owned and operated her day care, Mimi’s Creative Kids, out of. “Because they wanted it, it felt right. It was meant to be,” she says of moving on.
It was a natural progression for Grabovenko, who studied education in college, but says she always had a knack for fashion, even making her own clothing and jewelry back then. “I did this just to make money. I loved doing it,” she says, adding that she credits her mom for her early interest. “We always made stuff. She was a single mom so we always made do the best we could.”
The trio’s shop, which opened in June, takes up the first floor of the Synergy Multi-Care Professional building where they stripped the walls of its black and mustard-colored paint and transformed it into a bright white, airy space targeting shoppers ages 13 to 30.
Luxe Refashioned Boutique carries everything from denim shorts, jeans, skirts and dresses to crop tops, sweatshirts, flannels and bathing suits. Miscellaneous items, like jewelry, pillows, hair accessories, phone cases and hats are also to be found. “We try to carry the top trends of now,” Grabovenko says, adding that her showroom gets new inventory every two weeks.
Clothing from the shop can be customized by Grabovenko with patchwork and decals or by distressing and splatter painting. She’s since handed over tie dye duties to Brianna Gerbino, who was a student of hers 25 years ago at her Lynbrook day care. Another of her students, this time from a bible camp she directed at the Holy Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church in Brookville, Kyra Sansone, now 15, sells her stickers at the boutique under the name Kyra Creations; another noteworthy local is Glen Head’s Alexandra Delgais, whose jewelry line Shop Alexandra Madison is sold at the store.
Prices range from $18 for a tube top to $88 for a pair of jeans. Luxe is open Mondays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays noon to 6 p.m. Find it at 1570 Old Country Rd., Westbury; 516-324-2842