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Consignment competition sees small-time shops suffer

Christine Clifford, owner of the Clothes Line Too consignment boutique in Clearwater, Fla. stands in the center of her store surrounded by hundreds of trendy clothing pieces, colorfully decorated walls, sparkling jewelry and three smiling customers. If one didn’t know any better, this place might seem like just another expensive clothing store in the mall, and that these four women were simply carrying on together like best friends shopping on a typical Saturday afternoon.

Clothes Line Too is one of many consignment shops or clothing resale stores where people can bring in their old clothes to be considered for consignment. Many people don’t realize it, but places like this are more than just good for the few extra bucks they provide their clients’ wallets.

“I love my job because of the people. They become like family and you discover there’s more good out there than you might think,” Clifford says, as she pushes up a cheerful grin and hangs some new items on a nearby rack. “During certain times of the year, like around Christmas, my assistant Trisha and I will do something I call ‘late-nights’ where we’ll keep the store open extra hours for people who work late. For example, last year a man came in with three women. He gave them each $50 to buy whatever clothes they wanted. The women, I found out later, were some of his employees, single mothers who just needed a little help. I thought to myself, what a nice guy.”