Better the second time around

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:32

MATAMORAS - Selling new and used clothing and home furnishings at bargain prices, consignment shops are a recession-proof business, shop owners say. You never know what you’ll find on the shelves or racks and everything is one of a kind. If you don’t mind buying something with a little mileage, a consignment shop’s merchandise can fill the bill. “Contrary to what might be thought about consignment shop patrons, most are your garden variety, middle class,” said Robin Prudhoe owner of Encore in Matamoras. “Patrons usually come here before they go to the big malls to see if they can pick up brand name clothing at discount prices,” she said. Prudhoe has operated Encore for 13 years and says the economy does not affect her business. “Most of my clientele have been the same for many years,” Prudhoe said. “I sell everything from children’s clothing, household electronics, and furniture. I split the selling price 50/50 with the customer. My requirement for items is simple they can’t be dusty, crusty, rusty, or musty,” Prudhoe told the Courier in between answering a constantly ringing phone. Prudhoe said there are seven consignment shops in the area and she is the only one that displays and sells clothing. “The others don’t because it is a pain to have to tag it, hang it and display it.” “The shop used to be 3,000 square feet when I used the basement but patrons rarely went down there so I cut back to 1,400 square feet on the street level and I am doing just as well.” Encore is open seven days a week. You can call the store at 570 491-2490. North of Milford on State Route 6 is Trading Closets run by Sue Strunck, a former vice president at Russ Berrie of New Jersey, a high-end children’s gift manufacturer and importer. After many years, she left the corporate world for the small town world, and she and her family moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. Strunck’s encouraged about her venture. “I only bought the shop a little over a year ago and have nothing to compare it with but I’m doing good.” “I changed the shop around from mostly selling used clothes to just selling furniture and household goods,” she added. She’s pleased with her location as a lot of transients supplement regular customers using busy U.S. Route 6. “I love it; it’s so different from my other job. I now have time for my family,” Strunck said, smiling. “My husband used to tell me whenever my little ones would see a plane flying by they would remark, ‘There goes mommy’, and now I am here for them whenever they need me.” She’s open six days a week from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays until 6 p.m., and closed on Mondays. Trading Closets can be reached at 570 409-8178. Household furnishings abound and the “slightly worn” clothing looks new at these shops. As one customer said, “Smart shoppers always look for bargains, and bargains are what you can find at a consignment shop.”