August 7, 2009 in Business

New Plato’s Closet coming

Resale store offers gently used clothing and more for pre-teens and young adults
By The Spokesman-Review
 
J. BART RAYNIAK photo

Employees Carrie Nyholm and Bethany Bryan tag gently used teen clothing and accessories that will be sold at the new Plato’s Closet store in Spokane Valley at 15735 E. Broadway, due to open within a few weeks.
(Full-size photo)

The opening of a new Plato’s Closet can be a conspicuous affair. Just look for the throng of girls and young women waiting to get in.

Valerie Rhoads has seen that before and expects to see it again when she opens her second Plato’s Closet, a resale clothing store catering to ages 12 to 24.

Her first store opened in early 2007 in Spokane, at 5625 North Division St., next to Burlington Coat Factory. Within a few weeks, the second Plato’s Closet will open in Spokane Valley at 15735 East Broadway, Suite C1, next to Wal-Mart.

Part of a national franchise chain, the stores buy and sell brand-name, gently used clothing and shoes, plus purses, belts, jewelry, scarves and hats. Think Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, American Eagle, Old Navy, Banana Republic.

Plato’s Closet pays customers about 30 percent to 40 percent of what they expect to price the merchandise for resale.

“We look for things bought in malls in the last 18 months,” Rhoads said. “It has to be fairly new condition – not dated, stained or worn. … Most stuff looks brand new. We’re very particular.”

Prices average about $10 an item, and nothing costs more than $65.

Plato’s Closet carries some fashions for boys and young men as well.

The store has been buying garments since July 1 and will open for sales once the inventory value reaches $13 per square foot on the 3,700-square-foot floor. Rhoads hopes it will be by the end of August.

The new store has eight employees now and could have 12 to 15 by fall. The Spokane store has 21 employees, including part-time clerks.

Hours at both stores are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They’re closed on Sunday.

“Resale shops are much more acceptable in today’s world,” said Steve Murphy, president of franchising at Winmark Corp., which includes four franchise store brands: Plato’s Closet, Once Upon a Child (clothes for infants to size 14), Play It Again Sports (sports equipment), and Music Go Round (musical instruments). “These are no longer the secondhand, dirty, dusty places on the corner.”

The Winmark stores only buy quality items that still have some life in them, and the formula is helping the company grow in the recession, Murphy said. People want to downsize and get a little cash for their unwanted goods, and pay low prices for almost-new stuff, he said.

“Our brands are up 15 to 17 percent this year,” he said. “We’re seeing more and more people than ever come into our stores.”

Plato’s Closet is Winmark’s fastest-growing brand. It opened 30 of those stores last year and will open 35 this year, Murphy said.

Shoe store opens on North Side

DSW Shoes opened its first store in Spokane on Thursday, taking one of the main retail sites at Northtown Square, 4727 N. Division St. The store occupies 14,000 square feet of Northtown Square’s main block of the development, directly west from NorthTown Mall.

The store is the ninth DSW location opened this year, according to a company spokesperson. The Columbus, Ohio-based company sells men’s and women’s shoes.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to7 p.m. Sunday.

Therapeutic massage comes to Valley

New Spokane Valley business Elements Therapeutic Massage, at 325 S. Sullivan, Suite E, will open its doors on Thursday. Anthony and Dani Giardino are the co-owners.

Colorado-based Elements Therapeutic Massage is a franchise-based network providing massage services at more than 70 U.S. locations.

The company has other area franchises on Spokane’s South Hill and at Wandermere.

New tenants join business park

Two new tenants have leased space at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park.

VK North America Inc. leased 5,360 square feet in Building 15, 3808 N. Sullivan Road. The company provides warehouse and distribution services for the forest products industry.

Critical Power Exchange, LLC, is taking 55,000 square feet in the park’s Building 29.

The 22-person company, with offices in Liberty Lake, buys and recycles data center equipment and has a secondary business recycling metals.

Reporter Tom Sowa contributed to this report. Here’s the Dirt is a weekly report on new developments and business openings, closings or movement in the Inland Northwest. E-mail business@spokesman.com or call (509) 459-5528.

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