Katie Montague and Gina Weigum, owners of Katie’s Corner consignment shop in Birch Bay, carefully select the items they’ll accept for consignment. Only the highest quality children’s clothes, toys and furniture make the grade, and even those need to sell quickly to make room for new stock. So far, Montague and Weigum said striking the balance between incoming items and limited space hasn’t been a problem, due to strong local demand and strategic use of the social media site Facebook. Katie’s Corner opened March 7 in Terrell Creek Landing on Alderson Road without a grand opening, but Montague and Weigum said stock has been flying off the racks nonetheless.
“Sometimes items don’t even make it onto the rack,” Weigum said. “A customer will drop off items, and another customer will pick out something they want before we even get a chance to stock it.”
Katie’s Corner’s Facebook page already has 130 followers. The page helps Montague and Weigum spread the word about
newly arrived items, and customers seeking that special toy or outfit check the page frequently. On the morning of June 22, Montague posted a picture of a pink four-wheeler toy with the description, “Just in! Girls four wheeler in great condition! Comes with battery!” The toy was sold before the end of the day.
“We’ve gotten lots of really good comments and feedback from our Facebook followers,” Weigum said. “People can tell us what they’re looking for, we can post new things that come in and we’re also open to suggestions to make the business better.”
Business has been good, Montague said. “We’ve had a lot of repeat customers who we now consider good friends because they’re in and out of here so often,” she said.
“We’re in a good location,” Weigum added. “Vonna’s Purple Fin, the restaurant next door, has brought in lots of business, Sonya’s Furniture and Essence Salon are right here and The C Shop down the road is popular, so it’s becoming a nice little corner with businesses that complement each other.”
Weigum owns six of the eight commercial units at Terrell Creek Landing. Opening a children’s consignment store was her idea, but she needed a dedicated, business-savvy partner with a background in children’s products to help run the operation. Montague, who had experience running an online business selling cloth diapers, was the perfect fit, Weigum said.
“She’s got an entrepreneurial mindset and a good knack for displays. She takes care of the front end, I do the back end and we make a good team.”
Montague said the cloth diaper business, which was started by her neighbor, gave her insight into the minds of parents, along with valuable management experience.
“I definitely learned a lot about what it takes to run a business,” she said.
Weigum’s background with kids’ items comes from her experience raising two boys, who are now 5 and 6 years old.
“Being a mom gives me a better eye for quality,” she said. “I know what I wouldn’t put on my kids. We won’t accept items that are stained or have holes.”
Montague and Weigum research to find the original price of incoming items then set prices from there.
“We try to be lower priced than all of our competitors,” Weigum said.
Along with several racks full of clothing, the shop has shelves stocked with toys and furniture.
“We have a lot of good toys right now – lots of little construction sets. We have some Thomas the Tank Engine items, which are expensive new, but are very reasonable on the floor. They go quick,” she said.
Kids can try out toys in a well-stocked playroom, which allows parents to shop around without boring their children to tears. The downside, Weigum said, is that kids never want to leave.
“They have to drag their kids out of here. It happens all the time,” she said.
As one of the few children’s consignment shops in the area, Katie’s Corner gets a lot of unique, hard-to-find items. Sometimes, a rare item that is no longer useful for one family but is a necessity for another comes in at just the right moment.
Weigum said a customer once came in looking for a crib bumper, which is rarely sold on its own.
“I said we’d keep an eye out for one, but that he shouldn’t get his hopes up,” Weigum said. “Within ten minutes, a lady brought in a pink bumper. The guy was still in the store. It was a crazy coincidence.”
With business going well, Montague and Weigum are considering expanding into a vacant space next door for consignments focused in other areas, such as women’s clothing or jewelry.
“We’re researching what the community needs, and we can adjust fairly quickly if we see the demand,” Weigum said.
Because they never had a grand opening, Weigum and Montague said there’s a possibility they will host an open house at Katie’s Corner later this summer, perhaps to coincide with the Essence Salon open house July 20.
Katie’s Corner is located at 4823 Alderson Road, suite 105. It is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Montague said hours will likely be extended after July 4. Their Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/katiescornerbirchbay.
For more information, call Katie’s Corner at 360/778-3795.