Store offers 'gently used' clothing

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- After weeks of decision-making, training and buying enough "gently used" clothing to fill a good-sized store, Plato's Closet at 2524-B Dawson Road is almost ready for its grand opening on Thursday.

It's been a long road according to owner, Stacey Scott, but she's anxious to get started.

"We're ready to sell something," she said, smiling as she walked between rows of "late model" jeans. "We've been buying excellent grade clothing for weeks. People are calling and looking around, but they can't buy anything until Thursday."

Scott said that Plato's Closet is a franchise store and, by agreement, she's not allowed to sell any merchandise until the official opening.

Scott was laid off from her job two years ago and had long visited Plato's Closets in other cities. She liked the selections and especially the prices. As she shopped the store in Columbus, something "clicked" inside her head.

According to Scott, she found herself searching the Internet for the store name, and "before she knew it," she was speaking to someone about opening a franchise.

Scott and her mother traveled to the home office of Plato's Closet in Minnesota for three weeks of training, Scott said.

"The company has been just great," she said. "They held my hand all the way."

Company trainers showed Scott how to check quality points, such as zippers, seams, and jean length, and how to categorize clothing for pricing.

"Most of what we have is 'excellent' quality," Scott said. That means that it's almost like new."

Scott said that Plato's Closet isn't really a "consignment store," in the way most people think. She said that in the case of a consignment store, merchandise is left for the store to sell on behalf of the seller. Both original owner and the store will share in the sale price of the item.

Plato's Closet purchases "gently used" items from original owners for 100 percent of the purchase price, then marks the item up, Scott said.