Reselling Spanky’s

Consignment retailer undergoes new design to attract teens and new shoppers

Spanky’s consignment retailers unveiled a new store design this month, aimed at attracting teens and updating the overall look of the downtown and Cascade Park locations.

The business, coming up on 25 years this fall, was due for a shot in the arm, said co-owner Sandy Kramer. Concepted almost entirely by Lee Rafferty, Kramer’s partner, the new color scheme and signage are directed mostly at teens, who spend a large percentage of their income on clothing – and who discard items more quickly than adults.

"They are very opinionated," said Kramer, "and they either think (a store is) cool or it’s nowhere they want to be or refer their friends."

The hand-painted wood signs on corrugated metal are the work of one of  Vancouver’s oldest sign operations, Jim’s Signs, and the partners’ husbands Kevin Kramer and Pat Rafferty. Jim Graham hand lettered each new sign before Kevin and Pat assembled them.

In addition to the signage, the four repainted large portions of both locations and spiced up a play area for children at the downtown store, among other changes. The work has been underway since March and has cost the crew about $5,000.

To complement the new design, operations have taken a turn as well. The consignment limit has been raised from 20 items to 40 items, and "consignment hours" are a thing of the past. The stores now take items during all open hours.  A program that allows students to earn $5 toward a purchase upfront bolsters the new outreach to teen shoppers and is highlighted on the company’s Web site, www.shopspankys.com.

And last September, longtime partner and co-founder Jan Phillips retired. But, said Sandy Kramer, the bones of the business have stayed the same.

"The system we started with is the system we have today, but we’ve relaxed the rules," she said. "We are saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ to our customers."

– Jessica Swanson

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