BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — High-end clothing and accessories don’t have to cost a fortune when you shop at Bella River Boutique, the area’s newest retail consignment shop.
Created with the look and feel of an elegant boutique, but without the expensive price, owner Katherine Stark opened the shop to bring more retail to the Maumee community.
“This special suburb that I am proud to call my hometown has been lacking a quaint little shop like this for far too long,” she said.
Located at the intersection of River Road and South Detroit Avenue, the shop opened last weekend to the delight of many shoppers who were happy to discover the fantastic finds.
“We are confident it will be well-supported and draw in shoppers from the surrounding suburbs with its central location,” Stark said.
Bella River Boutique accepts gently used merchandise on consignment; buyers may enjoy a significant discount depending on the brand. The store carries a full assortment of pre-owned, gently used garments and accessories with brand names including Kate Spade, Coach, Ann Taylor, Chico’s and more.
Several shoppers have already posted positive comments on the Bella River Boutique Facebook page, including Kathy Roberts, who enjoyed the experience.
“It’s a trendy, clean, fun place to visit often, to see the new things that come in,” she wrote.
In another Facebook post, customer Brooke Lowrie called the shop a “treasure boutique.”
“This is just what the 419 needed. I will definitely visit again,” she wrote.
With a firm understanding of the current shopping trends that indicate a decline in brick-and-mortar retail stores, Stark believes the boutique offers a different shopping experience with easy accessibility and the ability to see and try things on.
“I do believe there is value to walking into a shop and being greeted by somebody and treated special, trying on the merchandise, touching the fabric and getting a little shopping therapy. Do we really want all of our retail going online? Do we want all of these empty buildings? That’s scary,” she said.
Although Stark enjoys clothes shopping, she doesn’t consider herself a fashionista so much as a businessperson who is interested in a lot of things. A consignment concept business model is not new to her, as she previously co-owned Re-decor, one of the area’s first furniture retail consignment shops.
“I’ve been shopping resale since 1995 and I’ve been interested in this concept for a long time. I think we were really cutting-edge when we opened Re-decor,” she said.
At Bella River Boutique, shoppers can find a little cocktail dress worn once or twice, or designer shoes the original owner never wore. The notion of reselling those items not only appeals to Stark’s frugal side, it also appeals to her desire to respect the environment.
“I hate waste. I want to keep things from the landfill. I also hate the way things have transpired to become disposable with such fast fashion. There is much more value in timeless, quality clothing,” she said.
“I also subscribe to minimalism ideals through a streamlined wardrobe in which only 30 items might be needed for an entire season, so you have a few basic pieces paired with some fun pieces. It makes decision-making much easier and it keeps things simple.”