Friday, July 31, 2015

Consignment shops opening hand-in-hand

Two consignment businesses will be opening soon at 256 Scott St.—one on the main floor and one downstairs.
But they will be working in conjunction with one another, each focusing on selling specific items.

“I’m taking just about everything except clothes, that will include accessories such as purses, belts, and hats,” explained Arlene Georgeson, who will be running “George’s Gently Used” on the main floor.
She’ll also be accepting housewares, home decor, furniture, jewellery, and china pieces.
“I will also be doing things like collectibles, antiques, unique, one-of-a-kind items,” she added.
“I really want a lot of things that will draw people in that are unique.”
Downstairs, meanwhile, Thomas Atkinson and his fiancée, Sarah Schaum, will be taking primarily clothing.
“We are looking for strictly name brand/designer clothes,” Atkinson said, noting they’re trying to go in a different direction than the Salvation Army with its thrift shop.
“They take whatever they can get and we want to get away from that,” he explained.
“We don’t want to take in clothing that’s worth $2.”
Atkinson said they also will have a small room dedicated to game systems and electronics.
“We’ve hired a Microsoft technician and what he’s going to be doing is he refurbishes game consoles,” he noted.
“So we can put a refurbished Xbox, with warranty on it, back on the shelf for $100.
“That’s going to be a big thing for us,” he stressed, adding they will be featuring older systems, as well, such as Super Nintendos.
Georgeson said her shop won’t look like a typical retail store.
“You won’t see shelves along the wall with stuff on it,” she explained. “Instead, it will be set up with different displays.
“There will be multiple things in the display that may or may not go with each other. . . .
“I do have some shelving and that will be for books, knick-knacks, DVDs,” she noted.
Georgeson already has been taking in items, which must be clean and in working order to be accepted.
“I’m not taking everything,” she stressed. “I’m trying to take things that fit with my vision.”
She said her consignment is at 35 percent.
“A consignment store in Ontario is typically 40-50 percent, so I’m doing it at 35 percent to get the business up and running,” Georgeson remarked, noting people always ask how she prices the items.
“I price with my consignee,” she replied. “If someone wants $30 for an item, add on my 35 percent. And if it’s going to sell for that, then we price it at that.
“If not, then we have to talk.”
She indicated there’s a 60-day sign-up for the first agreement. People can contact her to get a copy of the agreement via e-mail.
Georgeson is hoping to open this Monday (June 23), but is expecting to be open Wednesdays through Saturdays after the first few weeks.
“It gives me a chance to do intake, pricing, cleaning, and to change my displays,” she explained.
“I’m anticipating my floor space to be very full.”
As for Atkinson and Schaum, they’re expecting to open the first week of July.
Georgeson said she’s had a dozen inquiries a day and plenty of positive responses.
“People are saying ‘I’m glad you’re doing this,’ ‘I can’t wait to come in,’” she noted.
“It’s been really great.”
Georgeson said she sees a need for a consignment shop such as this is the community.
“There is at least three across the river, and I know they have Canadians that bring stuff across the river to sell at consignment shops,” she said.
“I talked about a consignment shop here to a number of people, trying to plant a seed for someone to open one,” she added.
“And nobody did.”
So she opted to give it a go herself. And she thinks the location she selected is the perfect space.
“Right downtown is where you need to be for consignment,” Georgeson stressed. “You need the traffic.”
Then she was trying to think of some options for downstairs. When Atkinson got a hold of her, she knew it would be a really good fit.
Georgeson also will be including a list of additional fees that will make it comfortable for people to shop, such as pick-up and delivery, or cleaning of items.
“That’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to make sure it didn’t restrict people,” she stressed.
“If people say, ‘I really like that desk but I have no way of getting it home,’ I can help you with that.”
She’s also hoping to have space to people to “pay it forward,” but she will be controlling the intake of these items to ensure people aren’t just dumping old, unusable things.
And she’s also considering incorporating a “finder’s fee” to put people in touch who are looking to buy and sell items.
“People are saying, ‘Let me know if you see this come in.’ And if I know someone who’s got one, I’ll do a finder’s fee to get them connected and get it done,” Georgeson said.
“I wouldn’t even need to stock it in the store.”
She stressed her store is not a garage sale.
“This is more geared to the unique items,” she reiterated. “Or for people who are started out that don’t want to pay retail but they aren’t garage sale prices. . . .
“The Salvation Army reduces the prices of their items because they are all donated,” she noted.
“I am providing a resale contact for people who want to find different things.”
Georgeson added selling things on consignment has advantages over the Facebook groups that have become popular for buying and selling.
“There are people who don’t want to be on Facebook; some people don’t have good Internet access,” she reasoned.
“There’s people who want to sell an item but a picture on Facebook does not do it justice.”
She noted some people prefer to put an item in the store and have people pick it up there, instead of at their house.
“If they are working full-time, they don’t have time to be meeting people,” she said. “Or people don’t want other people to know it’s theirs.”
Georgeson uses a numbering system for consignment so it is anonymous.
Atkinson, meanwhile, indicated they’re hoping to only do consignment until their store gets established.
“We are hoping to eventually be able to buy items outright,” he explained.
“When it comes to clothes, there is going to be so much of it and it’s going to be really hard to keep track of whose consignment is whose.
“It will make it a lot easier for us,” he added, citing his long-term goal is to turn the business into a pawn shop.
“There’s no consignment, just full on pawning,” Atkinson said. “There’s nothing like that here, in Kenora or Dryden.
“You have to go to Thunder Bay or Winnipeg.
“I think that really opens up a huge market,” he added.
For more information, call Georgeson at 274-5477 or Atkinson at 271-1559.

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