Darlene Harbin has wanted to own a consignment shop all her life, an unusual “dream,” to be sure. She is married, has four kids, has worked in day care and coached a lot of cheerleading teams.
Her aunt, Robin Holden, had a 35 year career as a medical biller as well as a medical supplies purchasing agent, and knew it was time for a change. Robin’s “dare” was to leave the comfortableness and predictability of her career, join forces with Darlene, and defy the recession by purchasing the business from the previous owner, Amanda Norton.
After a whirlwind of stocking and preparing the shop, Re Runs Consignment Shop opened on February 1, 2012. Both gals had the backing of their hubbies and kids, which has helped a great deal.
Darlene and Robin love to find bargains and are avid yard sale shoppers. They describe themselves as the “Yard Sale Queens.” They figured that seeing they were so good at it, they might as well “give it a try,” and do what they do best on a full time basis.
I asked them, “Seeing as there are a number of consignment stores in the area, why should I shop at Re Runs?” The first response was that “it is family owned, family run, and we treat customers like family.” They went on to tell me, “We have people stop in every day, even if they are not looking for anything, just to say hi.” Another thing that they work very hard at is maintaining a clean, sharp looking shop.
So, what do they carry? Clothing for men, women, children and babies, shoes, household items such as lamps, mirrors, decorative vases, and framed wall art. There are sets of dishes, jewelry, purses, and gift items.
At the moment they have more than 200 consigners, and “we pay a higher percentage to our consigners than anyone else in the area,” they said. They have formal wear and wedding dresses, and name brand apparel of all sorts. Their best sellers are the name brand purses, adult polo shirts, consigned jewelry, as well as their own exclusive jewelry line that they carry for the store. Here are some of their top selling name purse brands: Coach, Fossil, Vera Bradley, Kathy Van Zeeland, Sak and Hobo. Clothing lines include: Aripostle, American Eagle, Hollister, Ann Taylor, Hobo, Liz Claiborne, Talbots and they even have a Cabi section on the women’s rack. They offer lay-away, which is very unusual for a consignment store, and they always have a $1-$3 bargain rack. Another customer-friendly feature is the price tagging system. The tags have the entry day price, the date of the next markdown, as well as the date of the last markdown, so everyone knows “there’s always something on sale.” Tuesdays are the day that senior citizens get their discount, and at Re Runs Consignment, one enters that category at the age of 55. They also feature what they call “comeback bucks,” which means that if your purchase is $20 or more, you get a coupon for 5% off your next purchase. Seeing as it is back-to-school season and families are wanting to stretch their clothing budget bucks, the “comeback bucks” can be a big help. Re Runs has a good selection of back-to-school clothing for all ages, and several book bags and back packs. Name brand shoes that are especially popular among kids are Nikes, Yellow Box, and Skechers. Kids’ clothing lines that move quickly are Chez a Mi, Gymboree, Carter’s, Old Navy, and for the wee ones, Baby Gap. While it is common in higher end retail stores to have someone on staff whose job it is to help a customer put together an outfit and accessorize it, that is not something one would expect to find in a consignment shop. However, Darlene told me, “Robin can pick an outfit and ‘dress’ people, and they come back all the time to thank her.”
Being able to serve their customers well brings Robin and Darlene great satisfaction, and they told me, “What we enjoy the most is the consigners, who have become like family, and the people who just stop by to see us and wish us well.” “Remember,” Robin said, “You don’t have to spend a fortune to look good.”
Re Runs Consignment Shop
630-B South Jefferson Street
Athens, AL 35611
Hours: Mon-Fri 9-6 Saturday 10-5
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner