Karen Moore and Tina Maletich might have set a record for taking a business concept to reality.
The pair of Covington residents decided to open a consignment shop in the area three weeks ago and should be ready to open up by this weekend.
It started when Maletich was on the phone with her mother’s best friend, who lives in Arizona, and she “was telling her that we had talked about opening a store, but it didn’t work out.”
Maletich has previously worked at A Mom’s Haven in Four Corners, but after it went out of business she had chewed over the idea of starting a consignment shop with someone she knew from that previous venture.
Her mom’s friend in Arizona told her that because of the impact of the economy there businesses like consignment shops were booming, but it didn’t seem like the right time for Maletich to start a new business.
“She said, ‘No, no, you need to do it, you need to do it now,’” Maletich said.
The call ended and then five minutes later Maletich’s phone rang again. It was her mom’s friend offering to finance the enterprise as a “silent partner.”
“Still, I didn’t want to do it by myself,” Maletich said. “So, I thought of Karen.”
Moore had been thinking of getting a part time job anyway because her husband had been unemployed recently and her sales were down in her other business venture.
“At first I thought maybe I could work there and then she asked me if I could be co-owner,” Moore said. “I talked to my husband and thought, ‘Sure, I need an adventure.’”
With the financial backing of their silent partner in Arizona, Moore and Maletich began looking for the right location, gathering information about spaces for lease whenever they were driving around.
“Tina drove by this one and got the information and said it probably wouldn’t work out, but let’s just call anyway,” Moore said. “This turned out to be the most doable and the guy got back to us really quickly. We came and looked at it and thought this would be a great place to start.”
The pace continued on hyperdrive as they got into the 1,200 square foot space just off Southeast 272nd Street near Witte Road.
“We could paint, we could build, we could do all of that quickly,” Maletich said. “But the stuff where we had to wait for people to mail us items (slowed them down some).”
Getting their cash register, bar code scanner and computer software set up in a timely manner was more challenging particularly because they wanted it to be simple as well as make sure the hardware pieces were set up so “that it all talks to each other.”
As of Tuesday the pair had all of their inventory stocked in the store with items ranging from kids shoes and clothes to hair accessories to clothing for women and teens.
Thus far they’ve hired a trio of teenage girls to work in the shop.
“It’s hard for teenagers to find a job in this economy because moms like us are getting those jobs,” Maletich said.
They plan to continue reaching out to area teens by advertising in the school newspapers at Kentwood, Tahoma and Kentlake.
“For all those teenagers that have designer clothes, this way they don’t have to drive down to Southcenter to Plato’s Closet,” Maletich said. “And all the kids who want to buy those designer clothes, but can’t afford to because of the economy, they can get them here.”
Moore said they’ve also advertised in the money mailer and will try and make the shop’s presence known.
“Consignors will go find consignment shops,” Moore said.
Once they get the word out, Maletich said, they are sure they can build a customer base.
“If they know that we’re here and they like our product, they will come back,” she said. “It’s hard to find a place to take your stuff to, especially for women. If they know we’re here, I think they will come.”
A Treasure Box
Monday through Friday
9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
22218 S.E. 272nd St.