Giving Back With Stacey Garner
Not only are the clothes and accessories beyond fabulous at one. and too!, but owner Stacey Haskins Garner is a big believer in helping local causes. With this month focusing on giving thanks, Stacey is one who isn’t missing the boat on balancing running two businesses, raising two girls, and giving back to the community.
Eighteen years ago, before opening her clothing boutiques, Stacey founded Heart and Sole, Inc, a 501c3 non-profit organization that benefits The Children’s Hospital of Georgia, specifically the NICU, PICU, child life specialists, pediatric cardiology and general surgery. She began this 5K walk/run after her niece, Bowen, was born with a serious heart condition and spent most of her 13 days of life at the then MCGHealth Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The care she received was phenomenal and, because of this, Heart and Sole, Inc., was born — and so was Stacey’s giving spirit to help others.
Stacey opened one. 11 years ago and chose this name because “at the end of the day, you only need one.” For her, it’s more than just selling clothes. She wants shopping at her store to be about the experience and the relationships she and her staff form with customers. She believes that honesty, integrity and kindness go a lot further than just selling a piece of clothing.“My personality gets in the way sometimes,” she laughs. “I would rather chit chat with somebody than always have them walk out with something.”
Stacey decided to continue with her philanthropic ways she learned through Heart and Sole by holding annual events that benefit many local causes. In September, a denim drive is held at one. where customers donate a pair of jeans to benefit the women at SafeHomes of Augusta. In return, they get a discount to use in the store. Each year, Stacey aims to gather more jeans, and this year about 200-250 pairs of jeans were collected. “These are things that are just going to sit in someone’s closet because they don’t really want them anymore and can really help someone else,” she says. “Seeing that big stack of jeans in the store means to me that we are really doing something good.”
Her second store, too!, which opened three years ago and sells fashion for girls ages 3 and up, conducts a yearly school supply drive. Customers can donate $10 and receive a $10 off discount in return to use during the month of August. Stacey chooses to donate the supplies to a local elementary school, and Lake Forest Hills has been the beneficiary the past couple of years. She believes that giving back should start early and what better way than in a shop aimed at young people?
She also believes everyone can play a part in supporting local causes but knows that not everyone can financially support them. Giving of time and even supporting the local businesses who sponsor a certain event or cause can be just as beneficial. It’s a full circle if everyone would do that, according to Stacey.
Stacey’s goal is to host two to three fundraising events per year in her stores, and she has some fun ideas for the near future. Aptly framed on the wall behind the main register at too! are the words, “Be kind, try hard, show gratitude.” As the “house rules” at one. and too!, Stacey definitely lives up to this mantra, practicing it every day.