Tough economy provides consignment shops with business

By Taylor Kraft

Everyone likes a good bargain and this could be the reason why some consignment stores in Duluth are thriving in a tough time. Many economists have suggested that a way for a family to save money is to shop at consignment stores. Dannie Duluth consignment store on East fourth Street has proved that some businesses can do well in this economy.

“I’ve been doing well since I started 10 years ago,” store owner Dannie Jelinski of Dannie Duluth said. “It might be the economy but everyone loves a good deal.”

According to Jelinski, the store’s sales have increased each year since she started in 2000. Though she isn’t entirely convinced that it’s the economy because there have been two consignment stores in Duluth area that have recently closed their doors.

Plaza Consignment Store and Another Look Women Consignment, which are located on East Superior Street, both have went out of business in the first four months of 2010. Neither business was available for comment.

A similar store like Dannie Duluth, is Plato’s Closet, located in the Burning Tree Plaza. They too have noticed a rise in sales.

“We were doubling our profits each month compared to last years,” said former manager Kassi Deboer.  “That is unheard of in a retail store.”

Last year, Plato’s closet made enough money that they were able to remodel the store, moving dressing rooms and re-painting.  Dannie Duluth also has plans to expand their business by remodeling the basement to start selling furniture.

There are some differences in how the two stores operate.  At Plato’s closet your clothes are bought outright, giving you cash on the spot.  Dannie Duluth takes your clothes and gives you a consigner number.  When your item sells, you receive a check in the mail.  Dannie Duluth has almost 6,000 consigners, as far as Pebble Beach, Calif.

Shopping at these stores benefits the consigner as well as the customer.  The second hand stores are able to give a customer a lower cost for the same clothes that you could buy at a retail store.

“It’s a win-win-win situation,” said Jelinski.  “It’s great for the consigner, the customer, and for my business.  And that money stays in the community.”

When asked what her secret was to staying open, she had a few. “I have very loyal customers and consigners.  My store has a really great location and I am particular at what clothes I take.”

She also states that it is a lot of work and that you have to know what you are doing to run an efficient business.  “I run a pretty tight ship,” Jelinski said.

Whatever the secret, there is some proof that it is possible to run a successful business in a tough economy.

Former Duluth firefighter put out flames and had rhythm

Sharon and Al's life mission