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More value for less

By Staff | Feb 12, 2013

MUNCY – During these tough economical times, consignment and re-sale stores are gaining much popularity. Customers can get the best of both worlds, getting designer clothes for a reasonable price. Women and children especially have much to gain from shopping for gently used clothing. Often the apparel is barely worn or outgrown before it gets tossed out of the closet.

Two shops in the local area are always getting new customers and keeping repeat customers as well. The merchandise is not only changing daily, but the shops offer a variety of clothing and accessories in very attractive settings. The stores also draw customers who want to earn some extra cash by selling the items they no longer need. “Designer purses are a good selection for me,” said Charlene Hain, owner of Charlene’s Classic Castaways on Krist Road in Muncy Township, as she pointed to a $400 purse by Louis Vuitton. Hain has been in the business since 1996, always at the same location. “It’s great here in Muncy. The shop is accessible to the highway and near the mall. Parking is great too,” said Hain who sells mostly for women. She also carries Coach, Talbot, and Ralph Lauren among others. “Everything comes in here,” added Hain. People always love a bargain.

Shoppers are now showing a renewed interest in this growing shopping trend because they realize they can save money according to Jennifer Birdsall who opened a consignment shop, ‘A Bloom Boutique’ last May off Route 220 just before getting to Hughesville. She specializes in children’s clothing as well as women’s, carrying all sizes. She offers consigners 40 percent of the selling price of an item. Birdsall also discounts her inventory at the end of each season on already great deals, and sales can be up to 80 percent off. “Consigners are free to remove their items at any time,” added Birdsall.

Percentage kickbacks remain the main incentive for bringing in new merchandise. Hain from Charlene’s Classic Castaways says she offers 50 percent and will buy the jewelry and large ticketed items outright. This puts cash immediately into the customers’ pockets allowing them to buy other items that they could really use, or they can use the cash for store credit. All of the clothes seem brand new and Birdsall says she spends careful attention pressing everything, making sure the clothes look good on the hangers.

There are guidelines such as no stains or tears. Contracts are required and often the owners will refuse items if they are not up to their standards. “All clothing must be freshly laundered before it comes to the store,” Birdsall replied. Most children’s clothing in the small sizes, especially infant, rarely gets used as they outgrow them too quickly. “I have great consigners here who bring in great children’s clothes at great prices,” she added. However, both stores are very selective, choosing only items that have a good chance to sell. “No stains, holes or missing buttons.”

Children's items are very popular on consignment at 'A Bloom Boutique' located at 4481 Rt. 220 Highway in Hughesville.

At A Bloom Boutique, Gladys Dieter from Hughesville said, “It is a two way exchange.” Jill Stannert from Williamsport frequently visits Charlene’s Classic Castaways because she said she enjoys the thrill of the hunt, always looking for a good bargain. Consignment shops are simply a different way of ‘recycling.’ Browsing through the shops is a lot of fun,” said Kim McHenry from Muncy who likes to visit them often.

According to the National Association of Resale Professionals, people would rather take their merchandise to a consignment or resale shop rather than throw it into the “waste stream.” A quality item might cost more at resale than an inferior item does new, but if something is well made, then the item has more value at resale.

If interested in selling stylish items on consignment, both shop owners require an appointment first. However, they are open six days a week for shopping. To reach Charlene’s Classic Castaways, call 570-546-3904, and for A Bloom Boutique call 570-490-1393. Items that don’t sell are usually donated to a local charity.

Customers Gladys Dieter from Hughesville and Kim McHenry enjoy shopping for their grandchildren at 'A Bloom Boutique' in Hughesville as owner, Jennifer Birdsall checks them out at the counter where she tracks all items on consignment.

Quality jewelry is a popular item at local consignment stores.

Gently used designer clothing is carefully laundered and pressed for resale at Charlene's Classic Castaways on Kristi Road in Muncy Township.