Brick, mortar stores close, entrepreneurs seize opportunity

34538776_392391131262421_65When a local K-Mart closed its doors, Cece Tiberi and Pam DellaPenna bought some of the store’s clothing racks and put them into action at their church’s fundraising consignment sale. Tiberi and DellaPenna, president and vice president, respectively, of Christian Mothers of St. Cecilia in Grindstone, PA, working with a number of Christian Mothers members, successfully raised funds to help the church.

On the heels of this accomplishment, the pair decided to “do it for ourselves, because what girl doesn’t like designer handbags?” They found a suitable location at 3142 National Pike in Ritcheyville, PA, and “didn’t waste any time, so we couldn’t talk ourselves out of it” Tiberi said of their desire to set up a new business. Shortly after, Simply Chic Upscale Resale opened its doors to a waiting public on July 16, 2018.

Though it is a consignment store, “It’s more like a boutique. We sell crystal jewelry, gently used and new designer handbags, and household decor,” Tiberi said, adding “Our customers have told us we’re unique, but we’re taking different decor from different people who have unique tastes.” Also unique to Simply Chic is their own handmade crystal jewelry, which could provide just the right accent to their stock of designer clothing.

As brick and mortar retail outlets close, consumers have fewer opportunities to see and handle merchandise in real life. However, DellaPenna notes, “People still want to look at a store, and there’s not too much in the area.” With their location on historic Route 40, Simply Chic Upscale Resale provides not just an easily accessible real-world shopping experience, but one without real-world retail prices.

“You’re actually going to pay less here (for products) than Goodwill,” Tiberi enthused, continuing “They’re priced right today and they’re going to be priced right next week.” And to assure a pleasant experience for shoppers, Tiberi asks that clothes brought in for consignment are cleaned and free of wrinkles and pet hair. Once items are received, Simply Chic tags and racks them in an environment that is warm and, itself, chic. Simply Chic splits sales 50/50 with consigners.

High quality items available include Juicy Couture, Banana Republic, Michael Kors, Totes, Pink by Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, American Eagle. Abercrombie and Fitch, Vera Bradley, new LuLaRoe (all are new), Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and more, providing Simply Chic Upscale Resale an edge in filling the gaps left by area closures of Macy’s, Bon-Ton, and K-Mart.

For the boutique’s ambiance, special care was taken to create a welcoming, attractive setting because, as DellaPenna notes, “presentation is everything.” In addition to the ready-to-wear designer clothing gracing the racks, Tiberi said “home decor is hung on the walls, lamps go on the tables, and we light them so they look homey and cute.”

Striking a balance with upscale products upstairs is a flea market setup in the location’s basement, full of common flea market fare such as dishware, tablecloths, and other handy items. If a shopper’s goal “is to get the most for their five dollars,” Tiberi said, “they’re going to shop in the basement.” She notes, however, that with plans for upcoming shows, the flea market space may be sold out to make room for those events.

One of those events is a consignment craft fair on September 29 and 30 – Saturday and Sunday – from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. both days. Fall, Christmas, and Pike Days events are in various stages of planning, and a new web site is in the works. Meanwhile, be sure to find out about the latest sales while making a new friend at facebook.com/Simply-Chic-Upscale-Resale-389305594904308/

Those on the hunt to find good food and good bargains for a good cause can also find Tiberi and DellaPenna, along with other members of Christian Mothers of St. Cecilia in Grindstone, working hard on the church’s semi-annual spaghetti dinners. Additionally, there is an annual calendar party, annual vendor show, and for the second year, an all-in-one Christmas tree raffle, flea market, and consignment show.

Potential Simply Chic Upscale Resale consigners and show vendors can call 724-970-5641 for further information and arrangements.

Story by Keren Lee Dreyer for Pennsylvania Bridges