In tough economic times, one business is reinventing itself — and more than doubling its size and services.
Chic Consignment Closet, located at 46 Main St. in downtown Andover, is moving one unit north into the previous home of Sotherland & Co., which closed in December. With it, the consignment store — which sells used women's clothing and accessories, and shares the profits with the items' owners — will also expand its business model to sell furniture, men's and teens' clothing and more.
"By expanding the categories, it is going to bring in different people," said Lisa Nardone, owner of Chic Consignment Closet. "More mothers will come in to look at the children's [items]. More men will come in to look at the men's."
The business is also adding services, including closet cleaning — where Chic employees will help customers with cluttered closets simplify and match up items in their collection, get rid of unused or unwanted clothing and more, according to Nardone. The business will also offer styling and interior design.
"That's where I want to grow," said Nardone. "It's just helping people simplify their lives, whether it is weeding out their closet or simplifying their life. It's image-changing."
This is not the first time that Nardone has changed her entrepreneurial outlook. In the past seven years, Nardone has owned three clothing-related businesses downtown. The first business was Giggles, a children's clothing store in Elm Square at the current home of CitiBank. Around four years later, Nadrone moved on to Gig's, a teen clothing store on Essex Street.
"In Gigi's, I had been seeing the trend of consignment kind of popping," said Nardone. "We literally started [doing consignment] in the back closet of Gigi's. I wanted to make it work."
By June 2009, Nardone upgraded to a prime space on Main Street, where she opened Chic Consignment Closet. The previous renter of that space faced a court battle over nonpayment of rent.
While consignment depends on finding people interested in consigning sellable items and then selling those items for a cut of the profits, Nardone said the addition of the extra services and item categories will allow the business to grow into the new, larger space.
"I wouldn't go into something if I don't think I can make it work," said Nardone. "As the years-old adage goes, you have to spend money to make money. If you're going to grow, it's going to cost you to grow."
Chic Consignment Closet, which will be dropping "Closet" from its name when it officially moves, is expected to occupy its new Main Street home around the beginning of April.
POPUP ADDS TO BLOWOUT
To kick of Chic Consignment Closet's new home, Nardone is teaming up with Izzy's Emporium and Lyn Evans, two other downtown retailers for a "popup event" this weekend, where the new Chic location will be opened for the first time.
Running as part of Boutique Blowout — a sales event that several downtown retailers and restaurants have already signed on to participate in on Friday and Saturday — the popup event will bring a flash mob mentality, a "retail party" if you will, to the community's weekend sales drive.
"It's going to be an indoor bazaar," said Leigh Heffron, owner of Izzy's Emporium. "It's great that we'll sort of have something for everybody. It is something that Main street and downtown haven't seen before, our stores coming together."
With the event, all three retailers will move into the space for two days — Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — and sell as much as they can at "down and dirty, rock-bottom, warehouse prices," according to Nardone.
All three stores are different in the kind of products they sell, something that Lyn Evans manager Debbie Hirsh said makes it "kind of one-stop shopping for everybody."
"There is a focus of community here, of wanting to help each other and the community, and to encourage the customers to shop local," said Hirsh.