Montrose seems to be a popular place for people to both move to but also to move back to. Two downtown businesses have recently been taken over by new owners who have both returned to Montrose after a period living away.
Classy Closet, 1012 East Main Street
Originally located on the first block of Main Street, Classy Closet eventually moved to its current location on East Main but has continued to serve the community with a wide range of consignment articles.
Around 25 years ago Leilani Bate spent about six months working at the original location of Classy Closet. She loved it so much that she looked into what it might take to actually buy the business. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that time, but Bate never forgot about Classy Closet even after leaving Montrose. In fact, she kept thinking about it and never really forgot.
Fast forward to September 2018 when Bate was back living in Montrose (she moved back in 2010). She had become good friends with Kris Ann, the owner of Classy Closet, and was in the shop regularly. One day a conversation with Kris Ann led to an idea.
“I found out Kris Ann was willing to sell the business, and my dream was reignited,” Bate says. “I was in a good spot with my job, but I was a bit stuck.” Bate says with some input and encouragement from her father, she decided to take the plunge. “In less than a month it was all said and done and here we are,” she says.
Bate says that for the most part the only thing that has changed is the owner. “When I first purchased the business, customers and consigners were both a bit hesitant that things would change, but once I shared my story and assured them that everything was going to stay the same, they relaxed!”
One of the big differences with a consignment store is that you have to keep the customers and the consignors happy, and with a database of more than 3,000 consigners, that is no easy task. “Consignors like to walk in a place where they are known by name,” she says. “Leaning all of their names has become a bit of a joke we have. They get excited when I say their name without asking!”
And that list grows every week, slowly but surely. Currently, Classy Closet accepts consignments between 10 am - 4:30 pm on Mondays and Thursdays. The split on the item is 60 / 40 in favor of the store (with the exception of jewelry which is 50 / 50). Currently they are accepting spring items, but they don’t carry any children’s or maternity wear due to space.
Consignment stores are a bit different from most stores by their very nature. They rely on the local community for both sales and their inventory. Then there is the atmosphere. Bate says that people come in and just get lost in the music as they browse. “They let their worries go away and they can just shop with no pressure.” In fact, she says, the environment of Classy Closet is an overwhelmingly positive one. “It’s a stress-free place, and you get a good deal,” she says.
Speaking of good deals, Bate says that the concept of consignment stores works so well because people are going to shop regardless of the economy, and at consignment stores you can always find a good deal. Then there is the vast choice on offer. “We have a lot of customers that come in that just moved to Montrose. They’ve gotten used to certain brands from the bigger cities and as we get more and more new residents the broader our brand range gets,” she says. In fact, Bate says, they can even set up wish lists for customers, so when items of a certain brand come in, they can let customers know so they can come in and check it out.
As for the future for Classy Closet, Bate says why try to reinvent the wheel? “From the start I made the decision to keep it the way it was,” she says. “Kris Ann and Marla put so much work in to get Classy Closet where it is.”
One thing that Bate would like is more space. “We’re scrambling around to find floor space,” she says. “We’re constantly going through and pulling items to make space for new things because we don’t have enough space.” Parking is also an issue that she would love to not have!
Towards the end of April, Classy Closet will begin accepting summer items, with men’s clothing being in particularly short supply. “We don’t do suits, but we would love to be able to have jeans and work shorts as well,” Bate says.
Jack the Clipper by Kelly, 17 North Cascade Ave
Kelly Petschl is another downtown business owner who spent some time living out-of-state. After five years away Petschl moved back and has recently opened Jack the Clipper by Kelly.
Petschl lived in Montrose for ten years prior to moving to California. For seven of those 10 years, she worked at Jack the Clipper on South Townsend. Upon her return to Montrose, she thought it would be a great idea to name her own shop Jack the Clipper by Kelly as a way of letting her her former clients know they could expect the same service as they used to get. And it has worked. Petschl told us that about 50 percent of her current customers are all former clients. "A lot of people know me by name from my time with Jack the Clipper, so I figured it was a great choice," Petschl says.
Jack the Clipper by Kelly has been open since December 2018 but she has been cutting hair for over 30 years. Located in the newly-renovated space right off Main Street on Cascade Avenue, Petschl is very happy in her new home (construction noise aside!). "I love the new location and it will be great when people are walking around town more,” she says. “I have been busier now that it's warmer out with people walking around and mingling."
Currently, Petschl's clientele is made up of mostly male adults, but she is on the lookout for more families and women. She is also offering $2 off coupons for you and a friend when you stop in for a haircut. Jack the Clipper by Kelly is walk-in only and hours will be changing on April 1 to include Thursdays.
Stop by Classy Closet or Jack the Clipper by Kelly to get a new spring hairdo and wardrobe and say hi to Leilani and Kelly.
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