To Rachel Schemmerling, opening up in Post Office Square was a natural progression. As an interior designer, for the last six years, Schemmerling has learned what people like, what they want and what they need to make their house a home. She also attributes her ability to spot just the right pieces for her Clinton store on years of thrift store/consignment shopping, starting when she was just a young child.
“I had a booth in Old Saybrook for a while with my mother,” said Schemmerling. “My mom and I are avid tag salers. I grew up in consignment shops. It’s just the way I was brought up, so it’s sort of innate for me!” So these days instead of scouring stores, the bargains are coming right to her!
How do you choose the items to display in your store? I’m pretty selective about what I take. We don’t take real junk and we don’t take real high end, either, so we’re somewhere in the middle and it’s affordable. I’ve got a lot of customers that come in and say, ‘This stuff is consigned?’ They think it’s new. Some people are just amazed. When you display something and you lay it out properly you would never know it was second hand.
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What are the most popular items in your store? Right now people are hungry for tables and chairs, carpets, area rugs; they go in and out of here within a day. Table lamps…things people need that they don’t want to pay full price for. A lot of the cottage home owners in the area are looking for things for their second home so they don’t want to spend top dollar for things, but they want something nice.
Why do you think consignment shopping is so popular? It’s a green way of living. It’s the ultimate in recycling. You’re reusing something instead of sticking it in a landfill. It is the hot way to shop. Everyone’s on a budget. No matter how much money you make everyone’s trying to save money and everyone wants nice, quality things. Everyone wants the finer things in life so this is one great way to find those things.
Give me an idea of what your inventory is at the moment. We carry a lot of handcrafted items – jewelry, scarves, art - as well as upholstered pieces. I carry a line of organic home cleaning products from JR Watkins. We also have a lot of china, linens, carpets and handmade pillows.
Where do these items come from? The first month I opened, in October, I thought I’d be looking for things to sell. Within a month I had over 80 consigners. I now have probably 150. People come to me, I don’t look for anyone. They come to me from all over the place, including West Hartford and New Caanan. I go out to their homes; I’ll pick things up, see what they have. So news is travelling fast!
Why did you choose Clinton? I’ve always loved this spot. I think Clinton is central to where a lot of the cottage homes are located. We have a lot of homes in Madison, Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook, so I’m sort of right in the middle so it’s easy access for all those people. It’s right downtown, I’m off of 81, close to 95, close to Route 1, so I think it’s a great spot!
How has Clinton welcomed you as a new business? It’s been awesome. The Pretty Committee has been extremely supportive; they gave me an award, when I first opened, for my display outside. The town in general has been really great. People are happy to have something like this in town.
New Hours, starting May 1, 2012: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.