I enjoyed a St. Patrick’s Day meal with Dad, complete with a green votive candle holder for our table, all the green serving ware I could find (not much) and a menu that included corned beef, green Jell-o, and mint ice cream.
We were well stuffed when we moved to the other end of Dad’s dining table to work on paying bills. Still later, somehow, we made room for slices of chocolate cake loaded with chocolate chips (it’s one of our favorites).
I’m thankful that my two jobs allow me to spend time with Dad. I’ve worked at a clothing consignment store as a clerk since 2002. The flexibility of my hours there has been a blessing. I had occasion recently to describe the operations of the Next to New Shop, which I’ll share here.
In allowing the Next to New Shop to operate on its ground level, the Columbiana Women’s Club brings in a small, regular income that helps keep it alive. It also provides great shopping opportunities for a large customer base. Over the years, the shop has had several managers. Our current manager, Carol Rupert, has been in charge of the shop, off and on, for more than 20 years, and I feel it is due to Carol that the store has become the well-organized business it is today.
We accept any apparel on consignment: men’s, women’s and junior items (no children’s sizes) including shoes, purses, jewelry and most other accessories. We’ve had a few wigs come and go and even a hair appliance or two, when we have room.
Our biggest problem at the shop is the limited space in the basement of the Women’s Club. We have the potential to bring in more items than we can hold, so we have to be selective about what we accept for sale.
Our consigner base has grown very large. I can’t estimate how many active consigners we average during each season, but the numbers we are assigning to new consigners are presently well into the 2100’s. Our consigners are drawn from a tri-county area of Ohio as well as some residents of Pennsylvania and West Virginia .
Since we have so many regular clients, we are not really looking for new consigners, but we are always happy to accept someone new if they bring in their items early in the season.
Our seasons are basically two. Spring-Summer runs March through August (we just started building up our spring inventory during the last two weeks). Fall-Winter runs September through February, but we are happy to have junior items by mid-August to appeal to back-to-school customers.
Our consigners receive 40 percent of their total sales which they receive by check at the end of the season. They have the option either to pick up any articles that haven’t sold or allow us to donate them to charity.
Store hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We have a dressing room for fitting, which we recommend since all sales are final. Some of our frequent shoppers stop by at least once a week to make sure they don’t miss the latest bargains.
The bottom line is this: We try to get the best prices we can for our consigners and still provide our customers with reasonable prices on nice, gently worn clothing that is — just like our name — “Next to New”.
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