NCVAN opens boutique in Apex to help victims, families

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The North Carolina Victim Assistance Network opened a boutique in Apex to help victims of crime and their families (WTVD)

A new retail store in Wake County is selling apparel with a purpose.

The Butterfly Boutique just opened its doors and is offering new and used designer brands at huge discounts. But it's the mission behind the merchandise that's giving crime victims, and their families, hope.

On the surface, The Butterfly Boutique looks like any upscale retail store selling new and gently used designer brands for a steal. But a closer look reveals the store is so much more.

"(The store's name) really means being in a dark place and being able to come out on the other side beautiful," said N.C. Victim Assistance Network (NCVAN) Board President Freida MacDonald.

MacDonald has been in that dark place. Her 24-year-old son was gunned down in 2012 in a Raleigh hotel room. For her, hope came in the support of the NCVAN.

"It was so nice to have someone in my hometown where I grew up that understood and knew other people that had experienced this same thing," MacDonald said.

NCVAN Board member Kevin Blaine also experienced crime-related loss, when his pregnant daughter was stabbed on her newspaper route. Eight years after her death, it remains one of Raleigh's only unsolved murder cases.

"You're really on an island by yourself," Blaine said. "And for communities to support something like this to help victims, it means everything."

The Butterfly Boutique is a labor of love that's been years in the making. But, after state funding was cut, the design was expedited.

Now, not only will the sales from the boutique help NCVAN, but the victims can also get help under the guise of shopping. Staff will wear pins indicating their allegiance with NCVAN and shoppers can pick up informative pamphlets in the dressing rooms.

"We deliberately chose not to have men's clothing," said NCVAN'S Executive Director Elizabeth Watson. "If you're being stalked, you can shop. Chances are you'll be safe in here and you can seek resources."

Blaine and MacDonald are now volunteering at the boutique and working to give others hope.

"I really feel like this is the light at the end of a dark tunnel," MacDonald said.

The Butterfly Boutique will hold its grand opening on Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Olive Chapel Shopping Center off Apex Peakway.

Donating is easy, just drop off new and gently used items anytime at the store.

For more information about NCVAN, click here.

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