|Inside 2nd Level Goods
In recent months, a handful of new consignment stores have cropped up around Traverse City, adding to the area’s existing healthy landscape of re-sale shops. Store owners say items are more top-brand and high-quality than what you might expect, thanks to more consumers cleaning their closets, downsizing their homes and catching on to the benefits of selling to consignment shops.
Resale is big business – a multi-billion dollar a year industry, according to the St. Clair Shores, Mich.-based NARTS: The National Association of Resale Professionals. Goodwill Industries alone generated $2.8 billion in retail sales from its 2,324 not-for-profit thrift stores across America in 2009. Another NARTS member, Buffalo Exchange, which began with a 450 square foot shop in 1974, has grown to a 39 store chain in 14 states. They employ more than 500 people and generated annual revenues of $60.5 million in 2009, according to the Association.
Locally, consignment shops not only are opening but expanding and offering extras designed to appeal to their target markets. Zany Consignment Boutique (zanyconsignment.com) on Vine Street moved to a larger space and added an online “check your balance” feature. Top Drawer on Eighth Street added a separate location to highlight a specific line of products for teens. Several owners have banded together to create a “Re-sale Trail” brochure that gives shoppers a map of area stores not to miss.
The Ticker caught up with a few of the newest re-sale shops in town to learn what they carry and hear how business has been going so far:
2nd Level Goods
Owner: Shane Jackson
Opening date: May 2010
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
Located on the second floor of downtown’s Front Street Commons (former Arcade building), 2nd Level Goods caters to the 30-and-under crowd with a variety of clothing and accessories, as well as skateboards, snowboards and related gear. Still, owner Shane Jackson says “there’s something for everyone.” A former chef who grew up in Traverse City, Jackson says he’s operating the store he wishes would have been around during his youth. He sells both new and gently-used items, though even his new items are priced reasonably, he says. “Even my new stuff I am selling at a discount. It’s an outlet store for new stuff.” The store carries a variety of clothing and accessories, for both men and women. Jackson offers 50-50 consigning.
Chairitable [sic] Resale, chairitableresale.com
Owner: Denine Dingeman
Opening date: September 2010
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
“It’s been going good. We’ve been busy, and there’s been a lot of traffic,” says Dingeman, of her “shabby-chic” boutique consignment shop in Kid’s Creek Marketplace on U.S. 31. Local artists and craftspeople supply the store with original artwork and handmade shabby-chic furniture, along with refurbished and recycled furniture pieces. A portion of all proceeds go toward the local VSA Arts Program, of which Dingeman is one of the founding members. The program strives to “create an inclusive society where people with disabilities participate in, learn through, excel in and enjoy the arts.” “We’re really trying to be eclectic and have interesting, nice pieces. We want it to be higher-end, but we want the prices to be reasonable.” The store offers 50-50 consigning, though Dingeman says some people opt to give 100 percent of the sale of their item to VSA. Holiday cards, created by the VSA students, are arriving soon, she adds.
Up Your Attic
Manager: Wendy McKian
Opening date: June 2010
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; most Saturdays noon to 5 p.m., call ahead to check.
Business is picking up at Up Your Attic, a furniture consignment shop on Woodmere Avenue next to Trophy Trolley. Manager Wendy McKian, who offers 50-50 consigning, is considering hiring someone to help meet shopper demand on the weekends. New items arrive daily, she says. “We have something for everybody’s price range, from a quarter to a couple thousand dollars and everything in between,” she says. “We have unique gift items and great Christmas gifts.”
Simply Sweet Retail Boutique
Owner: Jennifer VanderVlucht
Opening date: July 2010
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
A jackpot win led to the opening of Simply Sweet Retail Boutique near Chum’s Corners south of Traverse City. “On Mother’s Day my brother took our mom out to the casino, and she ended up winning a jackpot,” says Jennifer VanderVlucht, who was given the money to open a re-sale shop. “My mom had been talking about it for six months; it was something she dreamed of doing.” With that $6,000, VanderVlucht found the U.S. 31 south location and began building an inventory of women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as household items. “We’re doing pretty well,” she says. “I like to keep a lot of things in here, not just current wear but vintage clothing.”