Miami Village Consignment Shoppe in South Bend offers clothing, camaraderie
There is often a misconception that consignment and resale stores are one and the same.
But after meeting Joan Ross, you are quickly but courteously corrected.
“There is a big difference,” she said. “That’s why I can be a little more picky.”
For 21 years Ross operated the Miami Village Consignment Shoppe at the corner of East Fox and Miami streets in South Bend. There, she works with consignees who bring in lightly used seasonal items such as college sportswear, blouses, jewelry, designer handbags, and even extravagant items including wedding dresses, clothing. ceremonial and fur coats. Ross determines what is acceptable to sell inside the store, taking into account resale value and quality.
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“It has to be clean, ready to wear, and my rule of thumb is not to bring it unless you buy it,” she said. “I have a good reputation for quality clothing and I don’t want to spoil that reputation.”
As a true consignment store, the business will then offer a place to sell the items and, once sold, consignees will receive 40% of the price sold. Items change monthly, with the newest items up front, and other older items are discounted based on their availability. If an item has been on sale for 90 days, Ross will contact the consignee to ask if they would like to collect or donate it. If they choose to donate, it goes to the basement where shoppers can fill a brown paper bag full of items for a flat fee of $ 7. If the basement starts to overflow, items are donated to charities and churches.
“I’m sure some people think it’s like going to the Salvation Army or to Goodwill,” she said. “They do a good job, but with the consignment it has to be good (quality) because two of us are making money on it.… If there’s a stain on it, I don’t sell it. Because if I can ‘I’m not selling it, nobody is making any money.’
The business has undergone transitions over the years, most recently consolidating its bridal section from its second storefront and bringing it all together under one roof. The store also recently stopped offering children’s options.
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And while the ability to sell products and buy well-maintained items at a discount may initially attract customers, it’s the atmosphere that keeps them coming back. Ross, who previously worked in retail at stores like LS Ayres, is the kind of person who has never met a stranger and truly cares about the welfare of his customers and consignees.
During store hours last Wednesday afternoon, Ross was able to sell a dress and encouraged the new customer to come back and show her pictures from the event. That same afternoon, another customer, who had originally come looking for an item for a Halloween costume, ended up walking away with other unrelated items and Ross pointed out where she could find what. she was looking specifically, while binding on earrings and great store finds.
The two interactions are just a sample of the camaraderie Ross has established over the past two decades in business.
“I love my people,” Ross said. “Ladies and gentlemen who come here, it’s like a wedding. We laughed together, we cried together, we got married, we buried, we had children, we had grandchildren, we’ve been through sickness and health, richer or poorer. I’ve been trying to retire for five years and I can’t. ”
Miami Village Consignment Shoppe is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Ross accepts seasonal consignment items on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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Contact Mary Shown at 574-235-6244 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @maryshownSBT and @marketbasketSBT.