Style (re)Sale

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Savvy and stylish bargain-hunters have long flocked to Grandview's stretch of Fifth Avenue, a favorite consignment shopping destination for decades. In the span of six blocks, you'll find seven resale shops offering everything from designer women's clothing to freshly painted shabby-chic furniture. You can call the area Consignment Village.

"People will plan to spend the whole day shopping up and down Fifth Avenue," said Mary Smith, owner of Second Chance consignment shop.

The resale roots stretch back to 1975, when clothing consigner One More Time opened its doors. Down the street, Trader Tots has been selling maternity and kids' clothes for 20 years, while Second Chance has offered its collection of name-brand and vintage finds for almost as long.

Consignment furniture outposts like Fresco Furnishings, owned by the folks behind Trader Tots, have popped up in recent years.

And the store owners welcome the competition.

"We like having other businesses here. We know we don't have the same items as the other stores. People come to shop the street," said Fresco Furnishings owner Anne Bush-Cassady.

Most of the stores follow the same consignment model -- sellers bring in their gently used clothing, accessories or furniture and the staff chooses what they think will sell. Those items are priced at about a third of their retail value; a percentage of the profit goes back to the seller while the rest goes to the store.

Items are kept in stock for about two or three months, so the selection is always changing to reflect the season. This time of year, you'll find racks of winter coats and cashmere sweaters along with staples like designer jeans and office-appropriate blouses and skirts.

Besides secondhand merchandise, consignment shops don't have much in common with thrift stores, which accept all donations and generally give profits to charity. For starters, they look a lot different. Second Chance has the feel of an upscale boutique, with attractive displays, roomy dressing rooms and velvet couches for lounging.

Each item's been hand-picked, tailored to the tastes of the clientele. Things are priced higher, but everything's in almost-new shape. While a day spent thrift shopping may uncover a Gap sweater for a dollar, a quick trip to a consignment shop guarantees dozens of good finds, like jeans from Citizen and Seven, Louis Vuitton handbags and racks of well-priced items from Banana Republic and Ann Taylor.

"In thrift stores, you do have to search more, you have to dig more. Here, there's still the thrill of the search, but you're looking through really great things," Smith said.

Secondhand slang

Consignment shop: Stores accept gently used merchandise, and pay the original owner a percentage of the profit when and if the items are sold. Examples: One More Time, Second Chance

Resale shop: This catchall phrase describes stores that purchase used merchandise upfront for cash or credit, then keep the profits. Examples: Rag-O-Rama, New Uses

Thrift shop: These stores, typically run by a nonprofit group to raise money for their charitable cause, sell items that have been donated. Examples: Goodwill, Ohio Thrift

Vintage and antique shops: Store owners seek out high-quality collectibles and sell them at prices higher than what you'd find in thrift and consignment shops. Examples: Flower Child, Mad4Mod

Source: National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops

Consignment Village

One More Time

1521 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview



Best buys: Cashmere sweaters, men's suits, plus-size clothing

One More Time Etc.

1641 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview



Best buys: Oak armoires, framed artwork, table-and-chair sets

The Red Chair

1644 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview


Best buys: Refurbished shabby-chic furniture like curved vintage dressers and ornate sofas

Fresco Furnishings

1744 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview



Best buys: '50s Formica kitchen tables, antique crystal chandeliers, ceramic kitchenware

Second Chance

1803 W. Fifth St., Grandview



Best buys: Marc Jacobs purses, vintage fur coats, Seven jeans

Alternative Shop

1806 W. Fifth Ave, Grandview



Best buys: Secondhand wedding dresses, evening gowns, men's sport coats

Trader Tots

1828 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview



Best buys: Liz Lange maternity wear, Gap Kids outfits, Pack 'n' Plays