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Crystal Lake resale store to help children join clubs, camps

CRYSTAL LAKE – Toni Ballstaedt had commercial space, a store’s worth of inventory and no permit from the city to run a business.

But the co-owner of The Cleaning Connection in Crystal Lake had faith in her new business venture and was confident the City Council would approve. Her early and risky investment was rewarded this week when she received the approval she wanted for her new resale store Pinchin Pennies.

“I’m a very religious person, and when I discussed the idea with my pastor he thought it was a great idea,” Ballstaedt said of her business concept. “So I already had the store stocked before I got approval. I figured if God doesn’t want it to happen, it won’t happen.”

It is Ballstaedt’s religious values that provided some inspiration to pursue her new business that will focus on supporting organizations that will pay for children who cannot afford to register for camps, clubs, sports and other activities.

She said 10 percent of net profits will go to those organizations each month.

“I have a daughter who is very active in gymnastics, choir and activities and the cost is astronomical,” Ballstaedt said. “So many people can’t afford all the costs, but budget limits shouldn’t stop kids from participating.”

Pinchin Pennies will be in Unit 8 at Crystal Lake Plaza on 6500 Northwest Highway, next to businesses such as New Balance and Pinemoor Pizza. The store will be a boutique-style resale store that features some high-end items such as Ethan Allen furniture and Kimball pianos.

Donations will be by appointment only, Ballstaedt said. She encouraged interested donors and nonprofits that support children’s involvement in camps and activites to contact the store at 815-353-9763.

If the store is successful, Ballstaedt said she has plans to start her own foundation that would provide tuition payments for camps and clubs to children in need. She also already has people in place to operate a second store in McHenry County if the Crystal Lake location does well.

“There is nothing like this out in this area to help these families,” she said. “I just want to help as many people as I can.”

Because she did most of the preparation before she received approval from the city, Ballstaedt said she expects to open May 1.

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