Walking through her shop filled with clothing, furniture, toys and household items, Angie Heidenreich talks about the rewards of owning and managing Lulu’s Consignment.
“It’s like Christmas every day,” she says. “It’s hard not taking everything home with you.”
The consignment shop receives an average of 700 items each day, which employees in the processing area sort through and select for resale. Only newer items that are in impeccable condition are placed in retail areas of the spacious 20,000 square-foot store, Heidenreich says.
“We take everything on consignment we possibly can, based on past experience and customer buying preferences,” she says.
To be accepted, items are supposed to be ready for the sales department and of good quality. For clothing, brand is an important consideration. The website for the shop lists clothing brands that are accepted—and those that are not.
“It’s not a thrift store,” Heidenreich notes.
The store does carry new items, such as furniture, which is placed alongside consigned items. Among sought-after items by customer are higher-end hand bags, which are displayed in a locked case.
More than 14,000 consigners sell goods at Heidenreich’s shop.
“We wouldn’t be in business without them,” she says.
The store receives such a volume of goods that it takes about three or more weeks for items to be processed after they are received.
The items that aren’t chosen for resale are donated to Council on Aging to support the local Meals on Wheels program, as well as to other area charities—including clothing closets at elementary schools.
“Meals on Wheels is a great cause,” Heidenreich says.
Lulu’s Consignment does not receive any benefit from the donations, Heidenreich points out.
“Our consigners get a donation receipt,” she explains.
Lulu’s Consignment has grown in size and volume since Heidenreich opened her shop in 2006 in a 3,000 square-foot space. Before deciding to launch Lulu’s Consignment, she worked in a small resale shop while her children were in school.
“I loved the feeling working with consigners and customers,” she says. “It inspired me to find my own business.”
After opening, Heidenreich’s shop soon became a family business, with her daughters and mother helping her. Her husband now works at the store as well.
Among her managerial duties are developing the weekly work schedules for employees, handling payroll and banking and also working on the sales floor. And when the store is closed, there are floors to mop and light bulbs to change, Heidenreich says.
“It’s a lot of work,” she says of the time and effort involved in running the business.
However, her strong work ethic has reaped success. Two years ago the shop relocated to the site of a former auto dealership to accommodate the growing business.
Before opening in its present location, Heidenreich and her husband spent eight months renovating the space. They created a spacious area with 13 dressing rooms, as well as making other improvements for overall appearance and functionality.
Heidenreich presently has 29 employees at Lulu’s Consignment, many of whom are moms and teachers who work part time.
“We have a great crew,” she says.
When some of her employees need time off around holidays, Heidenreich’s college age daughters come to the shop and pitch in.
“It makes me feel good that they would spend time with me,” she says.
Lulu’s Consignment is at 3699 Hendersonville Rd. in Fletcher. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For detailed information about the consignment process and policies of the store, visit the website ilovelulus.net
By Sandra Barnes