Consignment store upscales but keeps its prices low

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:28

    Branchville — Like the song from movie "Miss Congeniality," Lauri Malefyt has "A New Attitude." The five-year owner of a store called Children's Quality Consignments, located seven minutes north of Newton, has upscaled her inventory and become a lot more specific about what enters her shop. Since this focus on higher quality, Malefyt has noticed a marked increase in sales and her customers are pleased. With coffee in hand, Malefyt, who hails from Wantage, buzzes around the shop to make certain everything is in its place, directing those coming in with items for consignment to either room one or room two, answering customers' questions about the latest brands she's gotten in and grabbing the phone to give directions or confirm items in stock. The store carries sizes from newborn through misses size 16 and young men through size large. The store is unique for many reasons including it's new "only high quality name brand rack" with popular teen brands on it and its "clearance rack" with all name brand clothes marked down to either $2 for used items or $4 for new items. "We also have a 'Wish List,'" Malefyt said. "This is great for people who are looking for something but can't find it. If it comes in the store, we call them and let them know its here." Another one of the store's draws is the weekly sale. It can include such things as "all boys' clothes," "all girls' clothes," "everything blue," "all DVD's," etc. Malefyt advertises these weekly specials via her Facebook page and through an e-mail list customers and consigners can sign up for at the store. This year for the holiday season, Children's Quality Consignments is holding a raffle. Brand new 2011 Fisher Price digital cameras will be raffled off: a blue camera for a boy and a pink one for a girl. They retail for $40 apiece, and rules for the raffle are: "Any person who spends $25 or more is eligible to enter the drawing. Winners will be drawn on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. Winner need not be present and will be notified by phone if they win." In addition to clothing for children, teens and women of all ages as well, Malefyt also carries a host of housewares, home decor, pocket books, toys, DVDs, CDs, baby equipment and, "Well, you never know what's going to appear," she said. Malefyt has kept the name of the store as is because that's how it started, under a different owner and it has been at that location for many years. She emphasizes, "We're much more than children's things. We have a little something for everyone in the family." A fashion maven With two daughters of her own and a lot of years in the business, Malefyt is a fashion connoisseur. She knows all about brands, quality, prices, stores, catalogs and trends. Malefyt treats those who consign at her store as friends, and if something doesn't fit her criteria, gently says, "I'll pass on that." She no longer accepts clothing from Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart or Kohl's. What she does feature is a host of brand names. Customers can find: American Eagle, Abocrombie, Gap, L.L. Bean, Gymboree, The Children's Place, Boston Proper, Pyramid Collection, Victoria's Secret, Bebe, Hollister, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Juicy Coutour, Coach, Veral Bradley and others, depending on what comes in. "What makes this business fun is that you never know what's going to come in," Malefyt said. She takes great pains to make sure everything is presented and priced accordingly given its brand and quality. The shop features a section dedicated to dance where one can find ballet slippers, tap shoes and gymnastics footwear. The shop also gets its fair share of ballet outfits and tap unitards coming through. This time of year, lots of winter boots appear as do ice skates and some very fashionable winter coats. "We have the mall brands but for much less," Malefyt said, and she loves when the educated shopper realizes this. "We get people in who can't believe they just saw something similar for about five times the price at the mall." A few customers have questioned why Malefyt stopped featuring the more thrifty brands. Children's Quality Consignments is located about seven minutes north of Newton just off Route 206 at 6 Main Street in Branchville. For information, phone 973-948-7775 or e-mail Lauri Malefyt at