In this age of fast fashion and other throwaway goods, shopping at consignment stores is a better-than-ever option. Not only does it reduce waste and promote reuse, you’ll also benefit from pre-loved pricing. These shops—for clothing or home goods—pride themselves on offerings that have been previously used but are still in great condition.
Experienced consignment shoppers keep an open mind—you might know you need pants, or a dress, but having specifics in mind won’t get you far in the one-of-each-kind consignment environment. Many will find their favorite stores and revisit (occasionally or often) to see what’s come in. Good consignment shoppers also know they need to be decisive—the time you need to “think about it” is an opportunity for someone else to snatch it up. Here are some of our local faves.
One-of-a-kind women’s finds
1. Ritzy Rags
4060 Union Road, Cheektowaga
After 29 years at her shop, Toni Termini has built an incredible collection of costume jewelry and furs. The Cheektowaga store is also brimming with women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.
“Sometimes customers have a one-time special event and don’t want to spend a lot on a dress,” she said. “Young professionals can put together less expensive work wardrobes of designer and classic clothes. Smart shoppers will give consignment shopping a shot before going to regular retail.”
In addition to familiar labels (Ann Taylor, Banana Republic), Termini also has some vintage clothing; she frequently has prom dresses at affordable prices (after mark-downs, as low as $50). Handbags, like a brand-new Michael Kors leather bag, might be marked $129.
2. Second Chic
Locations in the Elmwood Village, Williamsville and Hamburg
Experienced retailer and fashion maven Annie Adams recently extended her consignment empire to include a shop in Hamburg—at each of her locations, the stock (and the vibe) varies, depending on demands of the clientele.
Within each store, there’s a mix of styles. “We try to have something for most ages: a mother, a daughter,” she said. “People feel like they’re shopping responsibly—not going to the mall, buying new, mass produced things. You can be eclectic; take a vintage dress and put a brand-new sweater over it,” she added. Or, how about a vintage Oscar De La Renta sweater, seen recently in the Williamsville shop for $48?
Cute stuff for kids
818 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo
A long-time Elmwood Avenue presence, shoppers here can find clothes for kids—from newborns to boys and girls up to size 12. Owner Erin Casey believes consignment shopping is a boon for parents, since babies and kids grow out of stuff so quickly.
She’s inclusive about brands accepted for consignment, but often has higher-end brands roll through like Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer and O’Connells. A pair of gently-used Robeez (a brand that’s often in stock), run around $9 at her shop—new, they’re around $38. She notes that she only carries clothing and shoes, not other baby and kid gear.
Home decor treasure trove
4. Pfohl’s Furniture Den
5225 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville
In addition to helping customers shop for furniture and home decor items, says Melissa Pfohl, her expertise in home staging allows her to help them envision and sometimes literally plan how they’ll arrange the items they’ve purchased.
Store owner Pfohl recently had a customer consign a dining set from the luxury high-end brand Horchow. With a massive round plank-top table and banquette seating, the entire set was marked at $9,000. But this was still a great deal: “The seats alone retailed for $3,900 each,” said Pfohl.
She also gets many like-new items from stores like Ethan Allen and Bassett. In the store recently were two leopard print Ethan Allen leather chairs, marked to sell at $480.
5. Purple Feather Consignment
5841 Transit Road, Clarence
In business less than two years, Purple Feather is already building loyalty and clientele in the East Amherst/Clarence area. While she carries a few vintage pieces, owner Lianne Reinhardt stresses that she’s not an antique shop.
“Shoppers can find treasures every day, from Waterford crystal to Pottery Barn dishes,” said Reinhardt. “People consign like-new or barely used furniture, unused wedding gifts—shoppers get great value for the money. Pricing is generally around 50 percent lower than retail.”
Recently in her shop, for example, was an Ethan Allen leather side chair that retailed for over $1,400, marked at $700.
Story topics: Shop local