Fashionistas of Grand Forks, rejoice: with the opening of a new store on Market Avenue, your shopping options jut got a lotmore unique.
Refinery 180, a consignment store which opened last month on Market Avenue downtown, is the brainchild of MarionPeterson. Having worked in food, specifically in bakeries, for most of her life, she was looking for a new challenge – and thisseemed like a good one.
“I like to challenge myself and I’m a creative person,” she said. “So I thought, ‘I’ve done this and it was fun and great, but timefor something new.’ I’ve always done stuff food-related, but I thought I was done with food.”
Peterson, a Boundary native, said her complete “180” from food into fashion inspired the name of her store.
Since opening in mid-January, reception in the community has been positive, she said, with people coming in to drop offclothes and checking out the clothing on display.
“It has been received well, considering it’s the off season. The store only woks with community support, and [people] havebeen dropping things off, coming in and buying things,” Peterson said. “The response has been awesome.”
Currently, much of the clothes shopping available in Grand Forks is at the two local thrift stores. Peterson said she seesRefinery fitting into a niche in the market here, giving people an opportunity to sell items they wouldn’t want to just give away,and presenting slightly more curated shopping.
“People can still go to the thrift store, take things to the thrift store, [but I think] we are in the middle,” Peterson said. “I havealways donated and shopped thrift, but there is a need for that niche, middle market where people have really nice things theydon’t want to just give away.”
While she’s hoping to get off to a slow start while she irons out the wrinkles of owning her first business, Peterson said sheexpects to get busier as the summer months approach.
The biggest challenges so far have been twofold: “all the paperwork,” to start, but also about curating a wide variety offashions that will appeal to people. Sometimes, Peterson said, you have to consider clothes that someone else will love, eventhough you don’t.
“The hardest thing is to take in things everyone will like. We have all ages, from young to old, so I need to take in [a variety],and sometimes you’re surprised at what people will like, what things will fly out the door,” she said.
When clothes are brought through the door, Peterson said the first step is to preview and choose the items. From there, shehangs and prices them, where they’ll remain on shelves for 60-90 days. If the items don’t sell in that time, customers arewelcome to come pick them back up, or ask for Peterson to donate them. The consignment rate is a “standard” 40 per cent,she said.
Peterson said she is looking for a mix of current and vintage clothes, good quality “unique” pieces. She is selling both men’sand women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.
“[I want] pieces you don’t find just anywhere. Pieces that have style and flair,” she said.
That thrill of not knowing what you might find is part of what Peterson loves about thrift shopping, and part of what inspiredher to open the store.
Everything is different than in retail. In retail, you walk in and there are a few items in however many sizes. [In consignment] itis, you see it, love it, and buy it. You walk out with it because it may not be there again,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you shopconsignment?”
“It’s everything I imagined it would be, we’ll see where it ends up in the next year,” she said. “I’m an optimist.”
Refinery 180 is located at 275 Market Ave. and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.