My Biz: Consignment shop owner adds maternity clothes

After a series of markdowns, some items are donated to charity

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Nicole Myers long had been a fan of shopping at consignment stores for quality used clothing for her two young children.

“I had heard from a neighbor that the original owners (of Polka Dots and Denim, the four-year old children’s consignment boutique in Cedar Rapids) were going to sell the business, and I had literally just been in the store shopping,” Myers laughed. “I knew right away I wanted to buy it.

“So I went right back to the store to talk to the owner and start the long process of purchasing it.”

Myers officially took over two summers ago. Having previously bought and sold antiques, Myers has experience working the retail and secondhand business.

“We have expanded as much as we can since we bought the business,” she said, noting they added a section of maternity clothes at the end of January. “I am proud of how much we have grown in two years.”

Clothing at the shop — from sleepers to everyday playwear and even shoes — ranges from newborn through size six, and items are put out seasonally. The store also will have special racks of clothing for holidays.

“I would say the biggest brand we have right now is Carters,” said Myers, noting that the store also carries OshKosh, Gymboree, Polo and many online-only brands.

At any given time, shoppers also can find strollers and swings, bouncy seats, toys and other baby items.

All the consignment items at Polka Dots and Denim — from about 220 consignors — is managed by computer software that Myers said is key to running the business.

“Once an item is here, it stays here but goes through a markdown process after 30, 60 and 90 days,” said Myers, noting that after that she donates items to local charity organization such as Young Parents Network, Bridgehaven, the Madge Phillips Center and the Olivet Neighborhood Missio, among others.

“At the end of the season I really hope there is not much left, but it also feels good to help these organizations and the parents that rely on their programs,” she said.

Myers owns the store with her parents, Nancy and Fred Koontz, and her mother often can be found working with her in the store.

“We are pricing clothes daily, and it is so nice because the computer does everything for us,” said Myers noting that she invested in a more robust online consignment system to allow for more reporting capabilities, from hourly to daily and monthly. “That computer program paid for itself in the first week we had it.”

l Know a business in operation for more than a year that would make an interesting “My Biz”? Contact michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a glance

l Owner: Nicole Myers

l Business: Polka Dots and Denim

l Address: 4333 Czech Lane, Cedar Rapids

l Phone: (319) 294-2222

l Website: polkadotsanddenim.net/ or www.facebook.com/polkadotsanddenim/

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