Mary Weldon’s consignment shop has expanded four times in 21 years.
Mary Weldon was working in downtown Columbus 21 years ago when she received a phone call from her mother. Her mom had seen a newspaper advertisement about a small consignment shop for sale on Fifth Avenue in Grandview Heights and suggested Mary check it out.
“I called the owner that night and the next day we met on my lunch break at her shop,” Weldon says. “I remember opening the front door, seeing the checkered black floor and having this overwhelming feeling that ‘this is it.’ I knew instantly that this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life.”
Weldon first had to come up with the money to buy the 1,000-square-foot shop, and she would also be walking away from a guaranteed salary and 401K. “I called my mom that night and she said she would loan me the money,” Mary says. “We both had this feeling that it was the right thing to do.”
Flash forward to today and Mary stands at a checkout desk in her Second Chance Consignment Boutique with a smile on her face and breaking out in goose bumps remembering how it all started. Now located across the street at 1803 W. Fifth Ave., her current women’s clothing shop is 8,000 square feet in a long building that occupies a city block.
Her store includes a designer room with velvet curtains and double fitting rooms, a teen room with a TV and crystal balls hanging from the ceiling, and an impressive array of gently used women’s clothing, jewelry, designer handbags, shoes and other accessories. Designer brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and more fill the store. Weldon describes her consignment shop as upscale resale. Second Chance has earned recognition from Columbus Monthly and Yelp.com for being among the best consignment shops in town (see related story).
Customer Julia Watson discovered Second Chance Consignment shortly after Mary purchased the store in 1999 and she says it changed her life, too.
“Now I could afford some of the designer labels that I aspired to — Eileen Fisher, Vince, Alexis Bittar jewelry and European shoes, all in impeccable condition,” Julia says. “When I’m tired of something, I could consign it and build up my ‘mad money.’ Some years ago, I got a promotion and had to begin dressing more professionally. Immediately, I went to Second Chance to upgrade my wardrobe with suits, blouses and jackets.”
Weldon says Second Chance Consignment prides itself on offering “a little something for everyone, much of which is unique.”
“Everything just slowly grew over the years,” she says. “And we knew we needed a reason to keep mom and teen coming back. Now you see the daughter, mother and grandmother coming in together.”
Second Chance was forced to close for two months in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Mary and her staff used the time to repaint and reorganize the designer consignment store and set up their first online shop. “Our goals moving forward are to grow our online store, our online business, and grow the store through social media,” Weldon says. “A combination of old school and new school.”
Weldon believes she was training her entire life for where she is today. After graduating with a fashion design degree from the Barbizon School of Fashion Merchandising, the Columbus native immediately went to work managing local stores, and spent nine years as a sales associate at Lazarus. “Everything I ever did in retail brought me to this point and formed Second Chance,” she says.
“Never in a million years did I believe it would turn out like this,” she says. “I walk the floor on big sales days and I love seeing the people who helped build this store now coming in with friends and family. I’m so very, very grateful to our loyal customers and employees.”
Mary’s (left) mom, Marge (center), helped at the store on Saturdays in the early years.
Mary enjoyed fashion at a young age.
Second Chance Consignment has donated more than $1 million in unsold clothing over the past 20 years to local charities, including Faith Ministries Church, In Christy’s Shoes and the Cornerstone Church. We also sponsor fund-raisers for non-profits.
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Second Chance Consignment Boutique was recognized in 2020 as ranking among the best consignment shops in Columbus by Yelp.com and Columbus Monthly magazine.
Yelp, the local business review and social networking site, ranked Second Chance as tops in the categories of “Best Consignment Shops” and “Best Women’s Clothing Consignment Shops” in Columbus. The Yelp rankings were based on the number of positive reviews.
In Columbus Monthly’s 2020 Best of Columbus Awards, Second Chance earned a “Mark of Distinction” in the category of “Best Clothing Resale Shop.” The award was voted on by the readers of the magazine.
“Fancy little treasures at a not so fancy price.”