It’s divine to consign

Nonprofit Network’s furniture consignment shop provides permanent downtown home for Holiday Shop

Divine Consign, a project of Nonprofit Network that opened in June, sells gently-used home furnishing to raise funds for its programs and area non-profits.

"We strengthen the community by strengthening non-profits," said Linda Glover, director of creative enterprises.

Divine Consign also provides Nonprofit Network’s Holiday Shop a permanent home.

Nonprofit Network was looking for ways to raise funds without competing with the organizations they aim to help. The idea of a consignment furniture shop ended up making perfect sense.

Nonprofit Network approached the various organizations they support and asked for two-year loans with 5 percent interest. When they reached their goal, Nonprofit Network opened up a 10,000-square-foot space on Main Street in downtown Vancouver and began accepting furniture to sell. The downtown site was chosen because it was important to the organization to add to the diverse mix of retail entering the area.

"We really liked being able to support the community that way," said Linda Glover, director of creative enterprises. "We are doing all we can to continue the growth."

Inventory came in at a quick pace. Divine Consign opened with $23,000 in inventory on June 23 and had $150,000 on the showroom floor within a month. Glover estimates about 200 pieces are brought in and sold each month. Glover expected it to take at least six months to fill the shop, but it is already wall-to-wall furnishings.

Divine Consign accepts furniture by donation or consignment. Sales of donated furniture go directly to Divine Consign and the Nonprofit Network to fund the store and its programs. Furniture sold on consignment is split evenly between the seller and Divine Consign, or the seller may recommend a local non-profit of choice to donate Divine Consign’s share to.

Glover said it is an easy way to sell home furnishings and that people are encouraged by the charity aspect of it.

"People can get money for furniture they paid good money for and took good care of," she said.

Divine Consign is careful about what it accepts, mainly looking out for damage, style and the number of similar products already in the store.

Customers come in looking for unique pieces and some check in regularly to see what is new.

Glover is the only paid employee at Nonprofit Network, which has about 80 to 100 volunteers.

With ample space, the Nonprofit Network is now able to have a permanent space for the formerly roving Holiday Shop. In its ninth year, the seasonal store was forced to operate in donated space. This year, Holiday Shop is running from mid October through January in the front portion of Divine Consign. Each year, about two dozen non-profits purchase shares in the shop by donating money to purchase merchandise, and proceeds are split among them. About $40,000 is donated annually and approximately $430,000 thousand has been raised for participating nonprofits since Holiday Shop began. The shop features holiday ornaments and decorations and a variety of gift items.

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