Nowadays, it seems as if every company tries to promote the green agenda. 36 years ago, however, a business model based on recycling and reusing was a decidedly uncommercial idea. That did not stop Judy Rhodes from opening A SECOND LOOK in 1982, the first upscale consignment store of its kind. People had few choices back then: throw away perfectly good clothing or donate it to a thrift shop. In an inspired moment, Judy was one of the first in the country to change the shopper’s ideas of just what a consignment could be by asking herself a few simple questions. “What if resale could be more than just what we find at charity thrift stores? What if it actually could be fashionable…like the department stores from where the clothing originated?” Drawing inspiration from discount retailers like Filene’s Basement in Boston, A SECOND LOOK was born by ignoring the status quo.
With a mere seven dollars and a passion for her vision of a new kind of resale experience, Judy purchased 28 boxes of clothes from a rummage sale. Partnering with her late mother, she secured a lease on a modest 800 square-foot storefront and put her new ideas to the test. Like most startups, the going was difficult for the first few years; however, it wasn’t long before legions of consignors and customers dedicated to the ideas she had would soon follow.
The store began to outgrow its surroundings at a rapid pace and moved three times before settling into the present massive 25,600 square-foot location in 2002. The owners are proud to say that they “were residents of the 32nd Street corridor before it was cool.” In fact, A SECOND LOOK has been located on this same street in North Phoenix since the business very first opened in the early 1980s. They are presently avid supporters of the exciting and long-overdue North 32 revitalization efforts underway in the area.
A SECOND LOOK is now one of the world’s largest clothing and housewares consignment stores. The 45-employee team at 32nd Street and Shea serves an astounding 40,000 consignors and process for sale over 20,000 individual and often one-of-a-kind items per week. Besides resale, it also receives brand new closeout items and merchandise from several designer boutiques located throughout the country, that prefer consigning as opposed to liquidating through other channels. Consignors have always flocked to the business and many use it as a way to supplement income. Last year, consignors earned over a million dollars from their sales at A SECOND LOOK.
From the very beginning, A SECOND LOOK was a true family business. Besides founding the business with her mother, Judy enlisted her sister, Jeri Watson. Jeri soon joined the company and became a partner almost 25 years ago. In 2014, Judy’s son Trey became a partner, also, after working at the store for some 16 years.
Although proud of their business accomplishments over the last one-third century, the owners are definitely even more proud of the way that the store helps people in need. From the very beginning, it was A SECOND LOOK’s mission to continuously give back to the community. Judy, Jeri, and Trey have collaborated with several different charities to donate clothing throughout the United States and abroad. Through their partnerships, A SECOND LOOK and its consignors have actively helped many thousands in crisis. Donations of clothing, bedding, and household items have not only been distributed to the local homeless population, women’s crisis shelters, and recent domestic hurricane victims but to those as far away as Haiti, Africa, the Philippines, Central America, and South America.
While most resale shops specialize in one or two limited product areas, A SECOND LOOK is a true consignment department store that has fulfilled the founder’s original vision. Inside, a shopper is as likely to find designer clothing (for both men and women) as well as decorator housewares items. The full range of merchandise is mid-boggling and can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated. Where else will you find clothing, shoes, hats, cosmetics, art, china, silverware, antiques, furs, gowns, watches, jewelry, shoes, handbags, pet supplies, books, games, bedding, electronics, sports equipment, luggage, collectible items (and even more) under one roof?
Besides the vast selection, perhaps the most fun part of shopping at A SECOND LOOK is the unique pricing and it appears to be what keeps customers coming back daily. While the as-new resale items begin at 40% of their original retail, the eventual price depends upon how long it has been available for sale. After thirty days, the price is automatically reduced by 25%. After 45 days, the price is reduced by 50%. Finally, after 60 days, the price is reduced by 75%! Customers are also invited to become part of the VIP Shopper program to be eligible for secret flash sales, special deals, and even in-store event like Sip+Shop Sunday champagne brunch celebrations.
A SECOND LOOK
10620 N 32ND ST • PHOENIX, AZ 85028
(602) 992-1916 • asecondlook.com