Glencoe’s new resale store outclasses some retailers
Business Manager Carol Madock (left) and Board President Wendy Serrino serve some customers at North Shore Exchange in Glencoe. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 15, 2013 10:25AM
GLENCOE — Peeking into a used but very new-looking Ferragamo handbag for a price Saturday, shopper Brie Root found an endorsed, uncanceled personal check for $450, dated 2011.
If anything illustrates the experience of shopping what may be one of the classiest-looking thrift stores ever, it was Root’s discovery. It seemed to indicate that someone had donated or dropped off for consignment a very expensive imported purse, someone who apparently, for three years, never missed cashing a check that could have paid for three nice purses at Nordstrom’s.
Saturday, the then-three-day-old North Shore Exchange was stocked with the kind of things everybody would like to wear, carry or put in their house – if they have a very nice house.
The non-profit store, which will feed various charities, is nothing much like the old store that used to be at the same 672 Hazel St. address. The plywood paneling and the florescent lights from the old Glen Cote thrift store are gone. Even the aisles are gone.
The sales area is just a big room with ladies’ garment racks toward the sides and furniture, art and accessories, mainly, in the middle.
The walls and ceiling are all textured paint and subtle lighting, supplemented by big transom windows, hidden under paneling until Glencoe architect Scott Javore set them free.
He gave his architectural work free, too, but the store refit still cost about $200,000. The Glencoe Women’s Club – formerly the Women’s Library Club of Glencoe – owned and ran the Glen Cote store, but now they’ve been joined by (mostly much younger) members of the Family Services of Glencoe and other Glencoe volunteers.
It had to change, said almost-every-day volunteer Carol Madock, whose mother still volunteers at the store.
“Adapt or die.”
The store has a head of procurement, Susan Sholl, and an “authenticator,” Margo Koval, said the Exchange’s president, Wendy Serrino.
They can tell if something’s stylish, and if it’s real: really Rolex, really Prada, really Cartier, really fake.
The merchandise is generally much fancier than Glen Cote’s was, but apparently still a bargain. It fairly flies off the shelves as North Shore women flock in.
Some women take one look at the merchandise, and don’t think twice.
Root, of Winnetka, tarried a moment only to find out if the $125, 98-year-old signed mezzotint – a print made with a very fine and labor-intensive process – of a cathedral appealed to her husband Jonathan. It did.
After that, a chandelier and several garments went quick.
“They were lined up out there in the snow the day we opened,” said Sharon King, a woman’s club member, standing behind the big glass and varnished-wood counter in the center of the store. A fixture from the old Wienecke’s Hardware store, it was retrieved from a downstate museum by the Glencoe Historical Society, where it was languishing in storage, President Karen Ettelson said last week.
King gestured Friday to a beige love seat and six soft-seated dining chairs. “Those might not be here when the photographer comes tomorrow,” she said. “They’re sold.”
Northfield shopper Missy McDonald, with an armful of clothes, described the experience Saturday: “Good designers, and the stuff is cheap,” she said.
“A woman’s best friend.”