Monday, July 27, 2009

We love our customers and they love us back!

We love our customers and strive to put our heart into making Renewed Expressions a place where women love to shop so it always makes us feel good inside to know that we are succeeding in our mission. Recently one of our wonderful customers, Mindi Wilhelm, came into the store for the first time since we switched to clothing and she took the time to write about her experience. Thank you so much, Mindi!


Recently, Abby and I drove to Meridian to check out a consignment store that has been around for years, Renewed Expressions. I don’t usually drive to Meridian for anything since I live in Boise, and most of Meridian is the new revised version of whatever is in Boise. However, since no one has managed to franchise women’s consignment clothing stores, we decided to take the time to check out R.E., 1835 W. Cherry Lane.

Most women’s consignment stores cater to the under 30 crowd. Good examples of this in Boise are the Lux and the Repeat Boutique. I visited R.E. many years ago when it first opened because I know Kathy Reitz, the owner, and we were looking for furniture for our new business. Back then, I seem to remember that it was all about furniture. However, Abby’s voice teacher, Deanna Pond, kept telling us about the great deals that she was getting on clothes and shoes at R.E.

Deanna recently completed her Master’s, and is under consideration for a national award for her thesis. She is not under 30, and she dresses business casual. She likes clean lines and classy things, but what she appreciated most about R.E. is their selection of adult woman sizes, their quality labels and brands. She told us, “I don’t feel bad about paying $20 for a high end label dress. They are always in great shape.” She also told us that she likes, “to just go there and look because their taste is really fine.” The clincher: “They have fun jewelry. They really do.”

This was enough to get us to drive all the way to Meridian.

For those who think used clothing stores smell and look like Saver’s, be prepared for something entirely different. R.E. is clean, well-lit, thoughtfully decorated, clearly organized, and it has friendly, helpful sales people. The roomy curtained dressing rooms and the professional displays almost made us forget that everything was second hand, but the prices reminded us. This store seems to merit a different designation than consignment; it is more like a gently-used boutique.

Abby loves to shop, and I do not. If I were rich, I would pay Abby to do my clothes shopping for me. Soon after we entered the store, Abby scolded me for hurrying through and not truly ‘experiencing’ R.E. I do not believe that she missed a single rack, counter, shelf or display. Women who like to shop like Abby should schedule at least 90 minutes for their initial visit. To me, shopping is more like The Hunt. Find it, try it on, stand in front of the mirror, buy it and bag it. Done. Both of us really enjoyed the store, but for different reasons. In the end, it was all about finding what we were after.

Abby was drawn to the shoes because she sells shoes at the Mall, and she was impressed with the quality and selection. She chose a very attractive navy blue and white sundress, $10, and some white Steve Madden wedges, also for $10. According to Abby, the wedges are normally $80-90. I found a great deal on a size 14 black A-line skirt and a coordinating Worthington top for a total of $26. Deanna was right about the sizes and quality.

Before we left the store, we talked with Kathy about her upcoming events, including “Back to School” shopping (July 26), and “Fall Clothing Unveiling”(Sept. 13). I have to admit though, that even being a non-shopper that there is one event that I do not want to miss at R.E.: Super Bowl Sunday. Evidently, the store fills with women who are equally uninterested in the game, and Kathy provides hors d’oeuvres at various times throughout the day.

Like Borders, R.E. has an email registry for devoted shoppers to take advantage of special sales. However, just mentioning the sale will get the same discount as actually bringing in a printout of the ad. I like that. Why doesn’t Borders do that?

For more info check out their website:

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