The Reclaimed Wardrobe was bursting at the seams, but has moved to a new location with room to spare.
Candy Cain, owner of the Reclaimed Wardrobe, took an interest in the store in 2017 as a customer first, when she had taken some clothes in for consignment. While talking to Darlene Riley, the previous owner, she decided to ask for a job. Less than a week later, she decided she wanted to buy the store.
“They were so busy with their other stores, The Wishing Well and Hazel Marie’s, that they didn’t have the time to put into it,” Cain said. “They needed to make some changes. I needed to make some changes.”
Clothing and retail is Cain’s passion. She took over the store on July 1 in the old location at 105 N. Elm St., and she said things went really well for a few weeks, but the store grew so fast and so much that she knew she needed to start looking for a larger location.
“I had some things that fell through, so I was getting real desperate last December,” she said. “It was really affecting me. It was not a good situation. I had just outgrown it, so I checked into some places and nothing was available, so I thought I’d ask Van Gelder’s if they’d be interested in renting this part (of their store) to me because they’re making changes over there and they agreed.”
The location Cain is referring to is where the Victorian Room used to be at 108 N. Maple St. She took over that location on March 1. Because she was only moving across the alley from the old location, the move went fairly smoothly, Cain said, but it was an enormous task to undertake because not only did she have the actual store on Elm Street, she also had the building next to it on the north side which was full of merchandise as well.
“Someone suggested that [the Appalachian Service Project] do that for a service project,” Cain said, “so, there was, I don’t know, six or eight kids and four or six adults from that project. I got in here and got everything ready. They moved me in on a Sunday afternoon.”
She said she loved being in the Elm Street location and that she was grateful for House of Pain and the Elms Club because they brought her business, but the new location is ideal because she is planning some changes, such as expanding and creating a better line of men’s clothing. The new location has also exposed her to new clientele that had never been in the store.
“I’m looking forward to this, I call it a department store because we’ve got just about every name brand and everything you could need,” Cain said. “I had a girl the other day who said, ‘This is so much cheaper than making a trip to Des Moines,’ and she got the same things she would have got in Des Moines, so that makes me happy.”
Reclaimed Wardrobe is a consignment store. Cain has certain guidelines for the clothes she will take. Clothing must be in a style that is fairly current and it must be clean. Brand name items are especially encouraged. The staff goes through the clothing, decides on a price and then the items are put on the sales floor. Cain said she has a base price she uses and she goes up or down from there.
When an item sells, 60 percent goes to the store and the consignor gets 40 percent, or if the item sells for $30 or more, Cain splits the money 50/50 with the consignor. She said her new computer system makes it so much easier because all she has to do is input the amount and the system does the rest.
Cain is looking forward to the Uptown Update event on April 6 and 7. The Area Business Coffee will be held at 8:15 a.m. April 6 at Reclaimed Wardrobe, and then at 10 a.m. there will be a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the grand reopening of the store. Cain said there will be sales and bargains throughout the store and refreshments will be served.
Also, as part of the Uptown Update, Reclaimed Wardrobe will partner with The Wishing Well, Hazel Marie’s and House of Pain for a style show. The show will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in front of the “You are beautiful” wall in the alley across from the store.
“Pray for good weather,” Cain said. “I think we all agree that we want to expose our businesses, but we don’t want you to necessarily want to buy that outfit. We want you to know what we have. I kind of feel like this is more of a community service. Everyone’s trying so hard to get this uptown thing going, and we want to be part of that. So, we’ll have a red carpet and everything if the weather cooperates, and there should be some nice things to look at.”
Cain is enthusiastic about the future of the store. Her people pleasing nature drives her to want to carry everything, but she does her best to keep that in check by listening to what people really want and carrying only those types of items.
“I’ve had so many comments about the community needing this,” Cain said. “And it’s very encouraging. I want this to be a nice store. I want it to look almost new. I have so many great consignors and that’s what they bring in. I love it when out-of-town people come in and they tell their friends.”