Those who have been doing some spring cleaning over the past few months now have a place to take the gently-used, trendy clothing and accessories that no longer have spaces in their closets—they can bring those items to a different closet instead.
That closet is Plato’s Closet, a new consignment shop in the Raritan Mall which features trendy items for teens and 20-somethings. The franchise is owned and operated by Beth Weissman, a former accounting professional who decided to go in a different direction after 30 years.
“I needed a change, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “I always wanted to own my own little boutique.”
After researching several Fortune 500 companies, Weissman happened upon the Minneapolis-based Plato’s Closet. She then visited several franchise locations of the store and liked what she saw.
“I was so impressed with the store and the young adults who worked there,” she said. “They were very well-spoken and you could tell they were well-trained. No matter the time of day, the climate or which store, you had happy customers on both ends.”
The clincher, however, was when Weissman visited the store’s headquarters in Minneapolis.
“I went to a ‘Discovery Day’ in Minneapolis where headquarters is, and I was totally impressed with everything that was presented,” she said. “Decided to do it.”
Now, Plato’s Closet of Raritan is open for business … kind of.
As a consignment boutique, Plato’s Closet first has to accumulate enough products to stock the store and accumulate back stock. These contributions come from members of the community who sell new or gently-used items to the store for a little extra cash. In turn, the store is open to buy from the public, but has not yet opened its doors to sell.
“I don’t have a date yet, I have to monitor the inventory,” Weissman said. “Once I hit the level that the franchise wants me to hit, then we’ll set the date.”
When that happens, Weissman believes that an exchange will constantly be occurring at Plato’s Closet that will be beneficial for all involved.
“It’s a win-win, that’s one of the reasons I decided to do it,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity, a great business model and it makes sense. People get money for items they’re no longer using and can get great items at a fantastic price.”
Plato’s Closet has also benefitted employment prospects in the area. Weissman said that she currently has 13 young adults from ages 16 to 20 in her employ, and she intends to add about 10 more before opening.
“Jobs are very hard to come by these days, especially for young adults,” she said. “We’re providing jobs for the community, as well as an outlet where people can get some cash and the great buys.”
All of these factors have combined to surround the opening of Plato’s Closet with an excited buzz in the community.
“The response has been overwhelming from people coming in the store,” Weissman said. "When they leave, they promise to go out and tell all their friends about it. It’s so great. They can’t wait for us to open.”