FLORENCE, S.C. - Children grow out of clothes and the same thing happened with Once Upon a Child, a children’s resale store in Florence. The store is now in a larger size right next door, having opened two weeks ago. There are plans to open a women’s resale store, Style Encore, in the old location.
Store owner Chasity Rowsey said that from the start she wasn’t prepared for what the public was going to give her. Before she was even allowed to sell clothes, she was bursting at the seams with more inventory than she could dream of.
“As soon as we opened our doors (in 2012) the floodgates opened,” Rowsey said. “So much demand was coming through the door. That first day we must have had 250 or more people coming in to sell. We couldn’t keep up at first. We didn’t plan to expand but our customers needed it. We had tons of inventory. There was so much we had to store 600 Totes in an off-site storage unit.
Last year Rowsey became the full owner as opening partner Mary Kaye Haney went on to open Plato’s Closet, a teenage resale store. In January, Rowsey learned that the storefront next to her, previously occupied by Bravo, was available. Bravo was moving out.
The new Once Upon a Child location is close to double the size of the former location. The additional space allows her to carry at least 15,000 more items. Other additions include dressing rooms, restrooms, expanded aisles and most importantl, shopping carts.
“Everything the customer has asked us for is here now,” Rowsey said. “Because we have more space, now we can buy more, too.”
Style Encore is another product by the Winmark corporation that bills itself as the preferred store for fashion-conscious, spending-saavy women. Rowsey said the Style Encore format is pretty much the same as Once Upon a Child, but for women.
“Just like Once Upon a Child there are three areas we focus on to buy or sell clothes…demand, style and condition,” she said.
The Style Encore Facebook page already has 1,000 likes and Rowsey said people are already trying to sell her women’s clothing to stock the new store. She said Encore is different in that she pays more out because women’s clothing costs more. The store will open for buying in April.
“Women are also very style conscious and want style within a year,” Rowsey said. “Children’s clothing can stay the same for three years but women’s clothing changes every year.”
Shelley Godbold is the training manager at Once Upon a Child but will move over to manage Style Encore once it gets going. She said she can’t wait to help people find what they need.
“You get excited when you have something new to wear and I love to help customers find what they are looking for,” Godbold said.
On Friday, customer Emily Grantham was perusing the new Once Upon a Child selection, with her 1-year-old daughter, Ireland. It was her first visit to the new location and she said the volume of clothes is amazing.
“I actually bought this stroller here and my daughter outgrew it so I brought it back to sell,” Grantham said. “There are so many things that are at Target, for example, that are over half price here. With kids you’re definitely on a budget.”
Rowsey said now that Once Upon a Child is in its new home, Style Encore represents another goal she has set to succeed in. She said the gratification she gets from customers is her best reward, and being able to create jobs in the community.
“Women love to save. We figured we already have our target audience,” Rowsey said. “Why not drop the kids’ clothes off and go next door to get something for yourself. Style Encore is a way to give our moms something, especially since women’s clothing isn’t cheap.”