Owner says moving shop to Capitol Street was part of her dream
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Consignment Co. has a new home along Capitol Street in downtown Charleston.
Earlier this month, store owner Tammy Krepshaw closed up shop at 926 Quarrier St. — where she started the business in October 2001 — to move to a new storefront at 221 Capitol St., next door to Ellen's Ice Cream.
It's a move she had her eye on for quite some time.
"Since I started 12 years ago, my goal was always to be on Capitol Street," Krepshaw said.
She said many of her customers work along the downtown street and she hopes to take advantage of the increased traffic.
"I feel like Capitol Street is the heartbeat of Charleston, so it's really nice now to be a part of it," she said.
Krepshaw, 53, had a focused vision when she started the company.
"It's my passion in life to bring women in Charleston great clothes at a good price," she said.
She said she's enjoyed being able to watch that dream come true for more than a decade.
But the road wasn't always easy, and Krepshaw said it took a lot of smart business decisions early on to get her store on solid footing.
"There's a lot of consignment stores in the valley, and a lot of them come and go," she said.
She didn't want her store to have that kind of fate.
When she started looking for locations in 2001, she had her heart set on Capitol Street, which had the most foot traffic in the downtown.
But she heeded the advice of a friend who told her to start small, build her brand and work her way up. She did that at the Quarrier Street location.
"That was good business advice," she said.
She said in the early years she focused on establishing her customer base and building relationships with consignors.
Quality was key.
"I'm really picky about what I take, and a lot of my customers depend on that," Krepshaw said. "They know I'll only put the very best on the floor for them."
Consignment shops, also known as secondhand shops, involve a consignor bringing in an item for someone else to sell. The consignor retains ownership of the item until it sells, and when that happens, the consignor and retailer split the proceeds.
Krepshaw keeps items on her store racks for 90 days, and she has a discount structure.
The longer it stays, the lower the price.
After 30 days, an item's price will go down by 25 percent. After 60 days she will sell it at a 50 percent discount.
When an item is sold, the store keeps 60 percent and the consignor receives 40 percent.
She said her graduated discount structure not only helps keep prices low, but also results in a constantly rotating inventory.
"We're never without a sale," Krepshaw said. "The store is changing on a weekly basis."
Many of the items currently on sale are spring fashions from names like Chico's, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic.
She stocks a supply of children's clothes and women's clothing ranges from sizes 2 to 3X. The store also features shoes from designers like Donald J. Pliner and Stuart Weitzman, along with designer handbags and necklaces.
Many of the items have never been worn.
"A lot of women shop a little too much," she said. "They will bring things with tags. We get more used items, but I'd say probably a quarter of the store still has tags."
A blue Ann Taylor blouse she was hanging Wednesday bore the original $68 retail price tag. Krepshaw was offering it for $21.
While most of her consignors are local shoppers, Krepshaw said she has built relationships with women who go to other markets to buy clothes.
"I have some great consignors that shop outside of Charleston, so they give my customers here some great choices," she said. "I have consignors living in Georgia and one in Florida that send things to me."
The Consignment Company is open Tuesday through Saturday. Krepshaw is keeping the store open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
She said those hours could change depending on customer flow and traffic at the new location.
"I'm just going to play it by ear and see what my customers want," Krepshaw said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at email@example.com or 304-348-4836.