Make us your home page
Instagram

Clothes Mentor, women's resale franchise, opens in Palm Harbor

PALM HARBOR — It's noticeably larger than most secondhand clothing shops, occupying 3,200 square feet in what used to be a gym. Its interior is as bright as sunlight, allowing customers to check garments for imperfections.

Palm Harbor has become the first city in Florida to mark the opening of a Clothes Mentor, a national chain of stores that resell women's clothing. The local franchise opened last week on U.S. 19.

"We are not a consignment shop," said Dick Murdock, owner of the franchise, one of 44 nationwide. "We pay cash on the spot for items that fit our model."

So what's the model? Clothes must be less than 2 years old, in excellent condition, trendy and have a recognizable brand name. Ann Taylor, Cache, Jones of New York and even the costly Prada go into the mix. The store features attire for every age and occasion, along with shoes, purses and jewelry.

Murdock's business strategy is to offer a deal on both ends. He says a customer can expect to pay 70 percent less for an item than she would pay at a mall. The item's seller is paid 30 percent of the item's expected selling price, which is calculated by a company computer program based on the brand and the age of the item.

"This is like a candy store for women," said the 67-year-old clothing entrepreneur, who invested some $250,000 to open the business.

Clothes Mentor is the first retail venture for Murdock, a native New Yorker and longtime North Pinellas resident who spent 23 years as chief executive officer of various charitable institutions, including a number of family counseling programs. Unsold clothes at his store will eventually go to local homes and shelters for abused women.

Murdock says the volume of goods coming into the store has been significant since he opened the doors just to sellers on March 14.

"We fill 1,000 new dress hangers a week, plus 500 skirt and pants hangers," he said.

Drawing sellers to the store also took an investment — about $30,000 in newspaper and radio ads, as well as spots on television. The publicity apparently worked. The shop was stocked to capacity well before last Thursday's grand opening.

"I started with nothing but bare racks," Murdock said. "Every single item has come out of someone's closet."

On Thursday, the aisles were jammed and the store had racked up $14,000 in sales by 2 p.m. Designer handbags were especially in demand.

Murdock anticipates opening more local Clothes Mentor franchises in the future. He noted that clothes and their wearers have a special relationship.

"Your closet tells your history, your present and your future," he said. "We have to be very gentle when we reject someone's clothing."

>>if you go

Clothes Mentor

The store is at 34888 U.S. 19 in the Fountains Plaza in Palm Harbor. The phone number is (727) 216-6101. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Clothes Mentor, women's resale franchise, opens in Palm Harbor 06/14/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  3. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO

    Corporate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Sherry Smith is taking over as CEO at Triad Retail Media, the company announced Monday. | [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  5. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]