The Rabbit Hole offers upscale second-hand kids clothes, dance and sports apparel, handmade soap — while helping Hannibal

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The Rabbit Hole owners Crystal Pettitt, left, and Brandy Johnson stand at the counter made by their husbands and granite from Wilson's Granite. | Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Walking into The Rabbit Hole, 403 Broadway, feels like stepping into a rustic garden. 

Trimmed in plants, locally made soaps and all-natural snacks, the atmosphere promotes a peaceful shopping experience, even if the main clients aren’t known for creating calm. 

The upscale second-hand kids’ boutique featuring clothes for infants to 18 years old, along with dance and sports apparel, comes from the shared vision of owners Brandy Johnson and Crystal Pettitt. 

“We know what it’s like to shop with kids. We’ve taken them to Hobby Lobby,” Johnson said with a laugh. “We want our shop to be kid-friendly.”

To keep the youngest shoppers entertained, they have an area in the back just for the kids to enjoy while adults focus on the clothing-filled racks. 

Johnson and Pettitt’s focus on nature and family is rooted in the origins of the shop.

They met in 2021 – over rabbits

With both of their daughters in 4-H and raising rabbits, they got to know each other through 4-H shows and county fairs. Their daughters also both attended Karen’s Dance Academy.

When dance academy owner Karen Frantz retired, they lost their means to order dance apparel, which can be hard to get.

The conversation soon became about the two of them opening a shop to sell dance apparel. They decided also to sell second-hand clothing, which they inspect to ensure the clothes are in top condition.

“We just had a kind of casual conversation about it at 4-H, and then she called me later that same night like, ‘Let’s do this,’” Johnson said. “I told her, ‘If you’re in, then I’m in.’”

And just like that, they took a leap into The Rabbit Hole.

The next day they began purchasing clothing to stock the store. In January, they found the building on Broadway. They painted and decorated, then enlisted their husbands to build the check-out counter in front of the building. Their girls played in the midst. 

The Rabbit Hole continues to be a family endeavor with the support of their husbands, who have taken on the role of “Dance Dads” some nights. 

The store opened on March 18 to a busy crowd and since has been steady.

Johnson and Pettitt said the response has been “unreal.” 

“Our first day was really mind blowing. I thought maybe some people from The Crossing down the road might come in and check it out, but really Saturday, it was just a busy and good day,” Pettitt said. “It was inspiring.”

The Rabbit Hole inspires others to help the community

All extra clothes go to EMBRACE Children and Families of Northeast Missouri, a local organization that helps provide for foster families. 

People who donate clothing can choose to have half of the proceeds go to a charity Johnson and Pettitt choose each month.

Johnson said she knows what it’s like to struggle.

“I have been in a position where I have been helped, and I realize how much that helped me,” she said. “Paying it forward feels good and trying to teach your kids that.”

There are other ways to donate:

  • Bring clothes into the store, and Johnson and Pettitt go through them and offer a price they will pay for them. A check or store credit is available.
  • Consignment is available for those with more than a couple of totes of clothes on contract. 

The shop carries new and used dance shoes, tights and leotards.

“We do have a dealer, so for any needs like that, they can help,” Johnson said. “They ship in about two days.”

Customers in need of sports equipment should also come in and talk to them.

Great Girlfriends Getaway

The Rabbit Hole also is participating in Hannibal’s Great Girlfriends Getaway on the weekend of April 28-30. 

They will offer $10 off a purchase of $75 or more on April 28. They will have bunny-tinis and shopping with real rabbits on April 29. They will have a prize wheel with discounts and prizes for every purchase of more than $50 on April 30.

The Great Girlfriends tote will have a coupon for free local handmade soap by local business Neverland Garden with a $25 purchase.

The Rabbit Hole is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Follow The Rabbit Hole on Facebook or Instagram.

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