Urban Renewal attracts bargain hunters

Customers at Urban Renewal are learning they had better snatch up a good deal when they see it — or somebody else will.

A woman visiting the west-side consignment shop Tuesday confessed that she had missed out on a great little shell lamp in just that fashion. She didn't leave empty-handed, though, buying a couple of pieces of wall art.

"I know you have to get it when you see it," she said.

Owners Kathy and Joe Goodale opened the store at 13th and Maize Road on July 1 after deciding the local consignment market was underserved.

Three months later, the 1,300-square-foot shop holds more than 2,800 items for sale. About 130 people have brought in items for the shop to sell.

Kathy Goodale, who runs the shop, describes the consignment business as kind of a win-win-win situation.

Shoppers get great deals. Sellers get rid of stuff they no longer want. And the Goodales don't have to pay for inventory they can't move.

"Our goal is to make our consignors as much money as possible while remaining competitive," she said.

And the only way to do that, she added, is to keep prices low. Prices are generally about half of what a new item would cost. For instance, a mint-condition Willow Tree figurine that would cost about $28 new goes for $14 at Urban Renewal. Prices are lowered further at the end of the 90-day consignment period. Urban Renewal splits sales 50-50 with consignors.

"People are savvy shoppers," Goodale said. "They know. Regardless of what shape the economy is in, I've never met anyone who doesn't love a bargain."

It helps, of course, that Goodale has an eye for what appeals to her mostly female clientele as well as a knack for displaying it artfully.

"Merchandising is so important," she said of the tableaux of merchandise she has created around the shop. As for the items themselves, she said, "The more unique, the better."

Wall art, lamps and chairs are some of the shop's biggest sellers. On Tuesday the inventory included an antique armoire, a "shabby chic" painted coffee table, candleholders, pillows, books, jewelry, golf club covers, dishes and a whole lot more. There are corners set aside for seasonal items — Halloween currently — and clothes.

As more consignors have learned about the shop, Goodale said, she's been able to become more selective about the items she accepts.

Goodale, who has a business degree from Friends University, said she's always wanted a business of her own. She has sold real estate and worked as a freelance writer in the past.

Goodale wants shoppers to have a good time as they peruse the shop. But snooze and you might lose that bargain, she said.

"Items move fast!"