For the past five years, we have found ourselves cleaning out our closets fairly regularly, partly so that we can de-clutter but mostly so that we could score some cash and purchase some new threads at Uptown Cheapskate. The local consignment store is certainly not your average thrift store, with a fashion-forward approach to merchandising and a heavier emphasis on like-new fashions. We’ll put it this way; you walk in and immediately forget that you are shopping consignment. The Salisbury store underwent a major face-lift recently, moving to a new, larger location just up the street (North Route 13). In addition to the new storefront, the owners also tacked on a new business to the operations – Kid to Kid. Operating exactly like Uptown Cheapskate but geared towards children’s clothing and goods, Kid to Kid is positioned to provide a welcome solution to your kids’ outgrown items and your own outgrown maternity wear.
We’ll start with Kid to Kid, the newest addition to the local franchise. Owner Emily Schramm (who is partners with her mother, Nancy Kline) gave us a tour of the soon-to-be-open space, starting with the adorable, tiny, pink kid’s door (pictured below). Schramm and Kline opened the Salisbury Uptown Cheapskate five years ago, and since then have opened two locations over the bridge (Rockville and Timonium) followed most recently by Kid to Kid in Salisbury. Close friend and fellow fashion enthusiast LeAnna Bush joined the duo to open Kid to Kid, partnering in the new venture. The exact open date for Kid to Kid is not set in stone at the moment, as they are currently in their ‘open to buy’ phase. According to Schramm, they will spend the next four to six weeks buying like-new items – clothing, shoes, games, cribs, strollers, hard goods, books, bows, winter coats – in an effort fully stock the store. Once full, the fun really begins, with a grand opening celebration. For now, Kid to Kid is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm, solely for buying. Parents who have been eager to unload on all their kids’ fashions, toys, and various items that they no longer have a use for are the target audience, as our new moms who no longer have a need for their maternity clothes. Once open, the store will be overflowing with great kid’s fashions, toys, and hard goods for purchase. As parents, it can be mind boggling just how fast your kids grow, which results in frequent shopping and a growing pile of clothes that are practically brand new. Kid to Kid offers a viable solution, serving as a place to sell your excess items, as well as a place to buy awesome finds at a great price. “Shoes are a huge thing here at Kid to Kid, as are winter jackets,” said Schramm, pointing out some of the pieces that have arrived so far. “It’s been so much fun seeing all of the products that have come in.”
In addition to clothing, there will be plenty of gently used books, cribs, strollers and toys to choose from, along with some new items for sale, such as the Melissa & Doug brand of toys. The store will also feature an area with games and movies for kids to enjoy while mom and/or dad do the shopping. Maternity wear is available as well. “The two really go hand and hand and maternity is not something we do at Uptown Cheapskate,” said Schramm. With two kids of her own, Schramm is all too familiar with the burden of purchasing an entirely new wardrobe that you will have no need for after a few months.
The payout at both Kid to Kid and Uptown Cheapskate is 25-30% of the sell price to customers, which is roughly one-third to one-fourth of the original retail price. “We are pretty selective with what we purchase because it’s not a traditional consignment shop,” said Schramm, explaining that while many consignment operations don’t pay out customers until an item sells, Uptown and Kid to Kid pay customers cash on the spot, whether the items ever sell or not. The Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid teams also strive to make the process as easy as possible for customers. Customers can drop off their items and return at a later time to collect their cash or credit, rather than being forced to wait in the store while the items are tabulated. Another plus is the donation option. Items that aren’t bought can be donated, which the staff handles for you (currently donations are sent to Goodwill in Salisbury). Pricing and buying decisions are also less subjective than one would think; in fact, the team uses a database that houses over 3500 brands with suggested pricing. “Basically we are looking for current trends and items in new condition,” said Schramm of Uptown Cheapskate. “Brand is an important factor and the database helps us calculate that price, but it’s more about style and what we think looks good.”
At Uptown Cheapskate, the styles and brands can range from Coach to lesser-known brand names. Shoes, bags, jeans, dresses, accessories…you name it and they’ve got it. “We really luck out with the products that people sell to us each day,” said Schramm. In addition, 30% of the store merchandise consists of new products and fashions. “We try to keep a really good boutique feel,” she added as we toured the new space (mentally noting the items we would be scoring post-interview).
Gentlemen, you’re covered too, although Schramm noted that the store is always in need of more men’s clothing to add to their merchandise. With the new (and larger) store, the Uptown Cheapskate team is also eager to buy more merchandise than normal (hint, hint: time to purge those closets before the holidays!).
For Schramm, her favorite aspect of operating both stores is the team of employees. College students make up a large portion of the staff, with a strong base of fashion-enthusiasts who enjoy the creative freedom their jobs afford them, whether it’s styling for social media posts, dressing the mannequins, or sorting and selecting buy back items.
Our tour of both Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid complete, we indulged in a little retail therapy of our own and started mentally compiling our list of adult and kids clothes we are eager to unload. We are certainly looking forward to the Kid to Kid grand opening before Christmas… stay tuned for more details! In the meantime, gather up some clothes, sell those items you don’t wear anymore, and refresh your closets for the winter season.
Photos by Gina Whaley