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Consignment stores in Helena work to keep secondhand shopping safe

Posted at 10:19 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 00:19:34-04

As mainstream businesses adjust to opening back up, or prepare to open their doors for the first time since the shutdown, the owners of consignment stores in Helena find themselves adapting.

Adrienne Jarrett owns Spruce Finer Consignor in downtown Helena on Last Chance Gulch. She plans to open up to shoppers on June 2nd, but she’s been accepting consignment while her store has been closed.

"I try to make things as safe as I can,” said Jarrett. "I do know all my consigners, and this business is based on trust. We trust each other. I'm very careful, and that's why I worked hard. It took me a little while to put a process in place to take in consignments.”

Her new process involves consigners leaving clothing outside on a rack, where the clothing can air out before Jarrett brings it inside.

She’s also taken advantage of this time by deep cleaning her shop and organizing her inventory. She even started selling items on Instagram. While Jarrett said she hasn’t done much business online, it’s kept her focused and provided her with a new skill.

“In terms of my business, I'm going to be better,” she said. "I'm going to be a better store owner because of this. I'm learning some things as I go, and it's made me look at things differently and better.”

When she does open her store next month, Jarrett said she will likely require customers to wear masks. She offers hand sanitizer at the door, and only uses one dressing room. She'll also limit customers to four at a time.

And Tuesdays will be dedicated to shopping by appointment only, for customers with compromised immune systems, or people who simply want to shop alone.

Jarrett said the changes are all geared towards safety — for her customers, consigners, her family, and the community of Helena.

Down the street, the Funky Trunk is open for shoppers. They’ll start accepting consignment on June 1st.

Owner Lisa Abelin said she’s already receiving calls from consigners, eager to drop off items they’ve collected while cleaning their homes.

Her shop is also prepared for the new world of shopping. There’s hand sanitizer sitting on a table in the entry way, and she encourages customers to wear masks. A plastic barrier separates shoppers from the register. And if a customer tries something on but doesn’t buy it, she steams it then lets it sit for 24 hours before putting it back on the racks.

When she begins accepting consignment at the beginning of June, there are guidelines to follow.

Clothing must be freshly laundered, dry, and fragrance free. It must be folded neatly, and in a tote with a lid. The tote must be labeled with the consigner’s name, consigner number, and phone number.

She will accept drop-off only, and the items will quarantine for five days.