LAKE WYLIE — Lake Wylie area residents no longer have to drive into the city to shop for high-end, brand name clothing and accessories. In fact, there are plenty of high-end items to score here, and at bargain prices, as three local shops bring retail to the area through consignments.
According to NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of resale shops, thanks to the resale industry being one of the few recession-proof segments of retailing. The No. 1 reason for the annual 7 percent industry growth annually, people love a bargain, narts.org states.
In Lake Wylie, The Estate Boys can attest to the popularity and growth. Co-owned by Ron Hunter and Steve Scoggings, the estate sales and consignment shop opened in 1999 in about 1,500 square feet in the same building where Lake Wylie Bait & Tackle now is on Charlotte Highway. Four years ago, they moved into their Lake Wylie Plaza location and have since expanded twice. Their space is now 10,000 square feet.
We buy individual items and put entire estates by the truckload on consignment, Hunter said.
Hunter explained they also do interior design and help relocate clients into retirement homes. In fact, the latter is how the shop started when their storage facility became to full.
It just grew and mushroomed, he said, adding inventory and shoppers come from throughout the region including Matthews and Monroe to Kings Mountain and beyond.
Now the estate boys have company with two recently opened consignment shops with somewhat different focuses.
All new business in Lake Wylie is good for everyone, Hunter said.
The newest consignment shop to open is thanks to a mutual friend of Linda Watkins and Chrissy Pellegrino who knew both women were interested in starting a local business set them up for a lunch meeting. Watkins is the former owner of Anytime Fitness. Pellegrino formerly worked for 20 years in television and for NASCAR, though she holds a degree in retail management fashion merchandising. This blind date was the start for a new venture into a new business together.
We hit it off right away, Pellegrino said. I wanted to do something different..
After brainstorming for an afternoon, the two decided their mutual love of shopping is something other women in Lake Wylie enjoy, too.
We both like to shop, know other women who like to shop, and wed like to shop here, Watkins said. We wanted a store that had a better selection of higher end brand-name clothing for women and children.
Echo Consignment Boutique, open for about a month at Bi-Lo shopping center, carries clothing, handbags, jewelry, shoes and some home decor.
I love it, said Jennifer Romero of Lake Wylie, who stopped in on a recent Tuesday morning to check it out while her son was getting a haircut next door. She walked away with two shirts and a jacket.
The key for the shop is selling name brands including Dooney & Bourke, Coach, White House Black Market, St. John and Lilly Pulitzer, Hollister and Chicos for a fraction of the original cost.
We want people to say, Oh, let me stop there first before they go to Charlotte, Pellegrino said.
Womens clothing sizes are extra small to extra large.
Its pretty reasonable, said Vickie King of Gastonia, N.C., shopping on a recent Tuesday morning. I rode by Sunday and wanted to check it out. Plus, a friend told me about it.
So far, Echo has 80 consignors with hundreds of items coming in each day.
Among the clothing, Pellegrino and Watkins said they are trying to support other local businesses, too. They offer a childrens line of clothing distributed by a Lake Wylie resident and sell handmade glasswork by Cheri Dermody of Tega Cay.
Wed like to feature local people, Pellegrino said.
The women also are already planning ahead.
We want to grow and hope to expand into mens clothing and home furnishings, Watkins said.
Watkins said they also hope to hire help in the near future.
Nearby at Shoppes at the Landing plaza is Mels Consignment at 221 Latitude Lane. Owned by Melissa Adams of Clover, this consignment store opened the end of December. Adams said she now has more than 70 consignors and is always taking consignments because things sell pretty quickly, especially home decor and furniture.
Adams store specializes in furniture and home decor - antiques to modern - and gently-used clothing.
I like to be able to sell them at a price people can afford, Adams said.
Adams, similar to The Estate Boys, ran out of storage room for her finds when her husband wanted the garage back, she said.
Ive always had an eye for things and liked to buy, redo and sell, said the mother of two boys, 13 and 10, who formerly worked giving paramedical exams for life insurance companies and has a background in business management.
So she found the 1,458 square foot space, plus converted the office and storage room into areas for clothing.
Its been really good, she said.
Sometimes, even the shop owners cant part with their special finds. For Adams, the carousel horse that stands in the store window has become synonymous with her shop.
It was for sale, but it brought so many people in now its my logo, and I dont want to sell it, she said.
Want to go?
• Echo Consignment Boutique, 164 Hwy. 274, Bi-Lo shopping center at Lake Wylie. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 803-746-5656 or visit echo-consignment.com.
• The Estates Boys, 4110 Charlotte Hwy., Lake Wylie Plaza, Lake Wylie. Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; by chance Tuesday-Wednesday. For information, call 704-458-4834 or 803-981-2592, or visit theestateboys.com.
• Mels Consignment, 221 Latitude Lane, suite 104, Shoppes at the Landing, Lake Wylie. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. For information, call 803-831-6777 or visit melsconsignments.com.