Consignment store Merci doing well in the economy


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In this economy, business is booming for consignment stores, where buyers can take their old clothes and get “new” ones at a cheaper cost.

“[Consignment stores] are the perfect marriage,” Catherine’s Boutique, 7 S. Dubuque St., owner Catherine Champion said. “You get the brands you want at a good price. You can find something more vintage, or individualized.”

Champion and Revival Boutique owner Sheila Davisson teamed up to form Merci, 30 S. Clinton St., a pop-up consignment store open for four to eight weeks. The store opened for the second time last week.

“It’s been going great; there are tons of wonderful things [consignment stores] have to offer,” Davisson said. “We’re only open for a month; we’ve got about three weeks left.”

Champion and Davisson originally wanted to open a consignment store after Davisson saw customers bring used clothing to her store that Revival couldn’t use, but was still quality clothing.

“We always flirted with the idea of a consignment store,” Champion said. “We thought, Why don’t we do this and see if it works out. And it’s been going great.”

Champion and Davisson both believe that secondhand clothing is just as good as brand-new clothing.

“Shopping secondhand is the responsible thing to do,” Davisson said. “There are so many clothes that can be reused and recycled, and it’s a great way to watch your budget.”

Champion said secondhand clothing is clean, affordable, and still fashion-friendly.

“It’s all clean,” she said. “I donated some of my own clothes [to Merci]. All your clothes have been touched by someone. It doesn’t matter. Live and let live.”

In addition to Merci being budget friendly, it is also conscious of helping the Iowa City community.

“It’s a way for us to give back to the community,” Champion said. “Most nonprofits come to small businesses asking [businesses to donate] things like gift cards. I thoughts there’s a better way to give back to the community than a small gift like a gift card.”

Davisson also believes as community members and business owners, it is important for her and Champion to do their part to give back to the community.

“Catherine and I wanted to do something charitable, and there is so much clothing that isn’t being sold,” Davisson said. “It’s good quality and they come at nice prices.”

Merci donates 10 percent of its profits to two different causes, Domestic Abuse Intervention Program and Mission Creek, a festival including music, literature, and food.

Marketing Director of Mission Creek Nathan Gould said it is important for businesses of Iowa City to be involved with the community.

“We have a great friendship with Revival, Catherine’s, and Merci,” Gould said. “They support the festival. What’s cool is during Mission Creek different musical acts will play in the boutiques. It’s kind of cool because it’s unexpected to take place in a boutique.”

Davisson and Champion believe through the trend of buying consignment clothing they can do their part to help Iowa City grow.

“We’re community members, we have family and friends as a part of the community,” Davisson said. “It’s important as business owners to help the growth of the city so it can thrive.”

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