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Worcester Family’s Businesses Still Thriving After Three Generations

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Boucher's Good Books

The old and the new have combined on Lake Avenue in Worcester, where three generations of small business have come together.

Boucher's Good Books, a religious store located at 254 Lake Avenue and owned by Denise Boucher-Garofoli, will have been open a triumphant 40 years this March. Coco's Closet, a baby's consignment shop located at 252 Lake Avenue and owned by Denise's daughter Jonelle Garofoli, just opened this past August. Both were founded on the dual foundation of faith and family love and both hope to continue on such a firm basis.

Boucher's began in a humble manner when Denise's parents, Louis and Bernadette Boucher, bought Brodeur's Religious Store from George Brodeur so many years ago. The purchase was fitting.

"My dad used to buy a book 'My Daily Bread' from Brodeurs Religious Store because it helped him during some tough times in his life...He wanted to share this with anyone he met who had problems and bought it on a regular basis," says Denise.

Mr. Broduer noticed the frequency of Louis Boucher's visits to his store, prompting a question.

"That's when George told my dad the store was for sale and was he interested in buying it since he was always there."

At first, Boucher scoffed at such an idea, but soon had a change of heart. He suddenly thought "God was leading him to this for a ministry he actually was feeling called to do... to bring God to those who are in need or just hurting," Denise says.

After all, one can do far more good with a whole store as opposed to one book.

With the store officially purchased, Louis called up Denise who was between jobs at the time and asked her to run the store, even though she had little past experience with such an endeavor.

"I was just literally thrown into it," she says.

But, by the grace of God, the business has flourished. Through tough economic times and the world changing drastically through technological advancements like the Internet, this little religious shop has survived. Denise has one thing to thank.

"We start the day with prayer and try to keep in mind we are doing a ministry designed for us by God... we truly believe this is God's plan and so He carries us through," she claims.

A person of faith can truly find anything their heart desires in this small but fanciful shop. They have items that celebrate sacramental events in Catholic and other Christian faiths from birth to the end of life, plus countless other spiritual items. In particular, Denise says she loves selling gifts for births and baptisms because they mean "new life."

It makes sense, then, that what was once storage space used by Denise's father for Boucher's has now been turned into a store called Coco's Closet run just for babies and toddlers.

CoCo's Closet

Born and raised in the city, Jonelle Garofoli came up with the idea for a consignment shop made specifically for babies when she realized, when looking for a crib and other items for her two toddlers, that there was not one single baby consignment shop in Worcester. She made a mental note that she would open one herself if she ever moved back to the area (at the time she lived in Florida). And she did move back, and as she promised, with financial help from her mother and physical help from her brother, her fiancé Joe and his father, worked on starting the business.

"I want to be able to provide a cozy place where parents and grandparents can come to find great deals while meeting all the necessities their children need. I also want my consignors to trust my and my business to bring their most treasured items and find them a deserving home", says Jonelle.

Jonelle hosted a silent opening for family and friends on August 2 of last year, in honor of her grandfather's birthday. Louis Boucher had passed away in 2008, but his presence his strongly felt, as the man who, at bottom, made both these businesses possible. The store was opened to the public on August 7.

Coco's Closet sells items designed especially for children anywhere from newborn to 4 years old, including various pieces of furniture, clothes and toys; but what Jonelle is most known for is her very own line of a baby beanie boutique items called "Coco's Caps." They are crocheted beanies for both boys and girls, head bands, flower clips and daisy clips.

"They are extremely popular for soon-to-be parents, gifts for newborns, stocking stuffers, and what makes it unique is that I have crocheted newsboy caps for boys, which are extremely hard to find. Everyone loves them," she says.

Her plans for the future are ambitious, but considering the success of her mother's store, not far-fetched. She can only hope it has the same longevity.

"I want my shop to be mentioned on every expecting mother's lips...  I want everyone to know that you don't have to go far or spend big money for a crib, high chair or stroller. I want to make a difference in everyone's lives that want to enjoy every aspect of a child's life without breaking their bank to make them comfortable," remarks Jonelle.

Denise opening Boucher's

As expected, Boucher's and Coco's have a tight-knit and cohesive relationship, and they hope continue to grow together within the family. They sell many of each other's items. For instance, among many other items, Boucher's carries Coco's Caps and Coco's carries children's bibles and other seasonal goodies. Jonelle runs the Facebook pages for both shops. They are also sure to recommend the other store to every customer that comes in.

"It is really a unique situation not only having businesses next door  but we do complement each other because especially when people come in for gifts for a Baptism or new baby I always let them know about CoCo's Closet," says Denise.

"If it wasnt for my mother and other family, Coco's Closet would not be here. There are not enough words to thank her, Joe, my father, brother, my grandmother and all my consignors and customers, and Facebook for their support and believing in me and my mission," exclaims Jonelle.

To find out more about Coco's Closet, visit their website or find them on Facebook. You can also find Boucher's Good Books on Facebook. 


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