In Colorado Springs, a person can purchase virtually any item, new or used. Standard new and used items — cars and homes — are for sale throughout town.
Then there are other things, items like tires you wouldn’t normally see sold used. Even on Craigslist.
“Sometimes you come across those real gems.”
– Mary Beth Cipoletti
[/pullquote]Several cunning business owners in Colorado Springs have made “resale is the new retail” their mantra to create positive bottom lines.
Another standard items to sell resale are clothing. Janna Botello owns Full Figure Resale Shop at 1512 N. Academy Blvd.
“It’s a great way to sell things when you don’t want to deal with all the details,” Botello said. “You bring it in, ready to go out on the floor, we price it and put it out” on display.
In addition to the consignment store owners making money, consumers selling their items also can discover that their closet contains potential cash.
The cost of most items at Full Figure Resale Shop is split 60-40, where the consignor gets 40 percent of the sales price. The resale prices of high-dollar items are split half-and-half.
“Very-high-priced items, like a Gucci or a Prada, in that echelon, we’ll give the consignor 60 percent,” Botello said.
The store will also purchase the items outright, but discourages people from selling that way because “they make more money if they consign,” Botello said. “I make more money if I buy it.”
Botello has been in business 22 years, and this past year, the business made $231,000 in gross sales. Botello and her manager Darlene Caywood say they have fun helping women find clothing that will make them look good.
“It’s just so much fun. I came from health care. I was a certified nurse assistant and activity director,” said Caywood. “It’s less money, but boy, is it worth it.”
On any given day, there is laughter in the shop that sells women’s items size 16 to 36 and shoes size 5 to 14.
“We take the current season and ask that the items are freshly laundered, wrinkle-free, on hangers and no older than four years,” Caywood said. “We’ve got thousands of items here now.”
“We help people out in so many ways,” Botello said. Women who have full figures often don’t have high self-esteem, she said, and recently the shop has been helping by offering free weight-loss challenge and teaching classes in salsa, yoga and kick-box dancing.
The former owner of the LaVeta Inn, Mary Beth Cipoletti started the Little London Market and Auction House 109 two and a half years ago at 109 S. Sierra Madre St. in downtown Colorado Springs. The business has been successful, almost from the start.
After three months, she “stopped feeding” it, Cipoletti said.
Little London specializes in home décor and vintage furniture. She will also sell selected clothing. She and her staff are a “one-stop shop” in handling estates. Cipoletti will research the value and authenticity of some items.
“We do a lot of research. We got a chair from an elderly gentleman who said the chair came from one of the early colonies in Massachusetts,” Cipoletti said. The man had the provenance with the chair.
“We sent it back to an auction on the East Coast, and the chair ended up bringing $6,000,” she added. That same gentleman had a handmade fishing pole that fetched $1,600 from a dealer, also on the East Coast.
“It’s time-consuming, but sometimes you come across those real gems,” she said. “We’re really particular about what we accept. Things have to be in excellent shape.”
Her business not only sells consignment items, but conducts auctions every two to three weeks.
“I think there was a need in the city for honest auctions for people,” Cipoletti said. “We can work the entire estate and do something with the clothes, the jewelry. We can be the one-stop shop.”
In home decor, the consignor receives 60 percent of the sales price; on clothing, the split is 50-50, Cipoletti said.
Customers range “from the very wealthy to people with less means who maybe lost their homes in a fire,” she said. At her store, people can unload items they don’t want anymore, without having to organize a yard sale. It’s also been a nice place for surviving relatives to dispose of late family members’ heirlooms while gaining some money at the same time, she said.
Tires have a market
Tires are typically not an item a person would purchase used. But they do, and they drive from all over Colorado Springs to Yomell Mondragon’s Master Tires Shop at 3508 N. El Paso St. off Fillmore.
The shop will buy used tires for $5 to $20, depending on quality, said Yomell’s son, Ivan Mondragon. Then they typically resell the tires for four times what they paid for them, he said.
Business has been growing since starting the shop four years ago, Ivan Mondragon said.
“Big companies don’t sell used tires,” Ivan Mondragon said. “If there’s nothing wrong with the sidewall and there’s no dry rot, we’ll purchase that tire. We try to keep tires with a lot of tread.” Every week, he said, they do between $2,000 and $2,500 in business.
“We started with just a big pile of tires, and now we have several racks,” he said. Also, the shop is planning to start offering mechanic work.
The right tune
A new music store in town specializes in buying and selling used instruments.
Music Go Round features used instruments, instrument stands, a mixing board and new items as well, such as guitar strings and kazoos. Prior to its June 28 opening, the shop at 410 W. Fillmore St. was open for two months to receive, research and purchase instruments for inventory.
“I always wanted to own my own business,” said franchise owner Alex Camp. “I talked to the owner of the Albuquerque store, and he said it’s been successful.”
Camp researched the business two years before investing $100,000 of his own and investors’ money, and he took out several loans.
In the four weeks he’s been open for business, he said, “It’s been good. I hear every day we’re the best music store in town.”
The store has averaged $800 a day in sales.
Music Go Round has for sale 300 guitars, 15 drum sets, keyboard sets, flutes, trumpets, trombones, basses and other music items.
He doesn’t have a tuba. Yet. He’s also looking for effects pedals and drum hardware.
Selling instruments at Music Go Round will not give the owner “pawn-shop prices,” he added. Camp buys the instruments at 60 percent of his estimated retail price.
Helps to be unique
What’s unique about Colorado Springs resale shops is the diversity of the customer base, say purveyors of resale.
Military spouses will bring in items from around the country and the globe, they said.
“We get a lot of the brands we don’t get in Colorado,” said Botello. “We get the benefit of having items come from other states and other countries.”
Cipoletti echoed that sentiment. Many items at her store were picked up overseas by the military.
“I’ve got an old silver tea set from Europe. The neat thing about Colorado Springs is the military. We’re seeing a lot of treasures from around the world,” Cipoletti said.
“Some of the people are passing on and their children don’t want the items, treasures from overseas.”