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‘It’s a one-stop shop’

Women take over ownership of Albert Lea consignment store

By Abigail Chalmers

The New To You consignment store in downtown Albert Lea recently experienced a change in ownership.

Janet Hunt and Susan Lee assumed control of the business on May 1 after seeing on Facebook that the previous owner was looking for someone to take over.

“I thought it looked like something fun to do,” Hunt said.

They sealed the deal and got to work making the store their own. They want to expand the store and continue to serve the community as it had previously. New To You features a wide variety of goods, particularly clothing.

“We carry clothing for every member of the family, from infant to senior,” Hunt said.

She also noted they sell furniture, home decor, fishing and hunting equipment, kitchenware and garage tools.

“There’s really probably not a lot that we don’t carry,” she said.

One of Hunt and Lee’s goals was to cater more to the male population in the city, and they are in the process of growing that section of the store.

“It’s not put together yet, but the whole front corner up here is going to be what we call the Man Cave,” Hunt said. “We wanted to provide more things for them because there is not a lot of shopping opportunities for the men in our lives in town, especially up on Broadway. We’re doing our part to make them feel welcome.”

Currently, Hunt and Lee are the sole employees, but they hope to hire others in the future.

“I think we would like to get it [the store] to a point where it can provide income to both of us and maybe have some employees down the road,” Hunt said.

She also explained the consigning process for those interested.

First, you must schedule an appointment for Hunt or Lee to review the items you wish to sell. They will look them over and ensure that they are fit to be displayed and bought.

Then, they will price the articles appropriately and set them out. Hunt explained that they run a 50-50 system, meaning that the store keeps half of the proceeds and pays the original seller the other half when something sells.

Items are sold at full price for 60 days before being marked down to half-price for the next 30. After 30 days at half-price, the items are moved to the Bargain Bin and are typically $1 or $2. The Bargain Bin is often frequented by those looking to buy and donate clothes at a low price.

“With those items, a lot of times we have people that are missionaries that come in, and they buy up the things on our bargain rack,” Hunt said. “Then, they suitcase them and take them to Honduras or something and give them to people who don’t have them.”

From shoppers simply looking to upgrade their wardrobe to volunteers donating clothing to people in need, New To You has something of interest for everyone, and it’s all in one place. Hunt and Lee’s business gives area residents a way to avoid driving for hours to shop. Hunt said it is like shopping at 100 stores at once.

“It’s a one-stop-shop,” Lee said.

The store, at 123 N. Broadway Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.