As much as I loved shopping resale, I never thought I’d own a resale store. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have loved it more than I ever expected. My journey started in 2005. Back then, I was working in I.T. in Plano, Texas.
With two small kids, I started shopping resale to save money. Several years later, I began teaching middle school special education. Being on a teacher’s
salary, saving money by shopping resale was even more important. I don’t recall exactly when I started shopping at the Clothes Mentor in Plano, but when I did, I quickly became hooked.
The prices were amazing, and the merchandise was fabulous. When people complemented me on my clothing, I often thought, “If they only knew how little I paid.” It wasn’t long before I was stopping by on a regular basis (not on my way home) just to see what’s new. There was always something new.
Fast forward to January 2019. I was in the middle of my ninth year of teaching and planning to continue. Then, I received an email from the Clothes Mentor loyalty system saying the North Richland Hills store was on the market. Buying a business was not on my radar, and it certainly wasn’t on my husband’s radar. Heck, I didn’t even know where North Richland Hills was. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to investigate it. It wasn’t long before I knew this
would be my next career. We pulled the money together, and on June 1, 2019, we bought the store.
We still lived in Plano, so I was making that long drive every day. Fortunately, we now live in Hurst, so that drive is just an old, bad memory. Running a store as a new owner with no prior experience was terrifying. I’d worked retail in my
20’s, but this was next level. Ten months later, COVID hit, and the county shut us down. That was a whole new level. As hard as that was, the shutdown produced one early blessing.
Before then, I felt like I was running someone else’s store. After the shutdown, the store was mine. We also learned during that time how to adapt to the changing economy—to put it mildly. We quickly opened our online store and started personally delivering local orders to save on shipping costs. I also revamped the store’s social media presence with Instagram and Facebook live
During the shutdown, I was doing live videos every day and delivering orders every night. Live videos have become a major part of our outreach. I do a Fresh Finds video featuring new items every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 p.m. and most Saturdays at 9:00 a.m.
Those videos have developed quite a following. We also started Girls’ Night Out (and In) events to build our community. When we decided to buy the store in 2019, we didn’t just want a retail outlet. We really wanted to build a community
of like-minded women around the store. GNO is a big part of that. The first Friday of every month, we host an in-store and online live presentation of the latest items with giveaways and discounts. In-store, we also have refreshments and drinks. Some months, it is quite festive.
Through events like this, we have built a great community of women bonded by a love of resale. We also wanted to make the store part of the larger community. As a resale store, we process thousands of items each week from women getting rid of clothes and accessories they no longer need or want. We can’t buy everything that comes in, and many sellers ask us to donate the items
that we passed on. Currently, we donate those “passes” to North East Emergency Distribution (N.E.E.D.). N.E.E.D. is a Northeast Tarrant County faith-based non-profit organization whose sole mission is to provide short-term emergency assistance of food, clothing, TXU payments, and bus vouchers. From what I hear, N.E.E.D. has made good use of our donations.
As a resale store, we love being part of the sustainability culture. It is so fun and fulfilling to provide a place for so many fabulous items to find a new life in someone else’s closet. We were fortunate to extend this culture beyond clothing during our recent renovation. Over the last year, the cost of building materials has skyrocketed. Carpet has become especially expensive, and we
certainly could not afford 4,000 square feet of new carpet. We thought we’d be stuck with our ten-year-old carpet. Then, like manna from heaven, we were blessed with a chance to obtain the carpet for free! The office building my husband works in was demolishing several floors for a residential conversion. The space had thousands of square feet of barely used carpet tiles. Rather
than toss it out, the general contractor set it aside for us. The color was a perfect match, and now we have a new floor. From clothes to carpet, Clothes Mentor NRH is all about sustainability.
Suffice it to say, our store has gone through many changes over the last three years. And it is better than ever. It is a common misperception that resale is basically like thrift store shopping. Nothing could be further from the truth. Imagine walking through the door and into a bright space. You are greeted by a pleasant aroma and friendly staff. You stroll through the racks and notice that the clothes are organized by style, color, and size.
Looking for something specific?
Just name it, and our staff can direct you to the exact location.
Not sure what you are looking for? We can help you decide. We can even help you style it. That’s one of my favorite requests!
There is nothing like the feeling I get when I see someone discover a new style or find confidence in trying something new. Make no mistake, this is no thrift store.
I hope you will come see for yourself. We’d love to have you join our community. You might even get to meet one of our store dogs, Scout and Gunney. Scout is mine. She became part of our family during the COVID shutdown. Gunney belongs to our Assistant Manager Katy. Both of them love to meet new folks. They also make frequent appearances in our videos.
When you come see us, I can’t promise that you won’t get hooked on resale.
Just remember, you could be paying retail.
Lisa Hill, Owner/Operator, Clothes Mentor North Richland Hills,