Used-goods shops go the franchise route in southern California

It's an idea whose time almost slipped by - franchising the used-goods consignment shop. There is nothing new about taking your cleaned-up (but out-of-date, maybe) apparel, furniture, jewelry, bric-a-brac, or recreational equipment to a consignment store.

It's been done for years, even maybe overdone in the ubiquitous neighborhood-clan-type garage sales. What almost slipped by though was the idea to franchise the operation in one wrapped-up package.

And now it has happened.

Re-Sell-It Shops Inc. in San Diego has three stores of this type in operation - two developed from the franchise idea.

For a fee of $9,500, the company offers an organizational setup program, consisting of planning, training, advertising instruction, fixtures layout, and newsletter contact after the franchise is sold. Including the franchise fee, Re-Sell-It estimates it takes about $20,000 to open the doors.

According to Florence Kalanquin, president of the company, advertising really does encourage sellers to bring in goods.

''In our San Diego shops, though,'' Ms. Kalanquin says, ''we haven't used much advertising, because the units are a needed neighborhood novelty. And in this case, we've had more merchandise brought in than we could handle.''

Incentive to bring in consignment goods, she says, is tied to the commission-rebate plan (50 percent to the shop, 50 percent to the consignor); and to the rapid turnover of stock - if the price is right.

Goods brought in are priced by the owner and the shopkeeper ''to move.'' And what does not sell within 30 days is automatically marked down. And at the end of 60 days the goods are removed, given to charity, or marked down for the last time.

Re-Sell-It operators are encouraged to follow the franchising plan in detail.

Unlike some used-good shops that offer broken and as-is merchandise, the franchised units will be set up to use attractive displays for used (but clean and working) goods in bright, well-lighted, and well-organized surroundings.

Ms. Kalanquin recommends different size shops for different merchandise. Boutiques offering apparel and accessories need only 1,000-1,200 square feet.

Antiques, furniture, and household items, however, do well in a space of about 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, she says. And depending on the speed of the stock turnover, a shop of the latter size and style in the neighborhood area of a metropolitan city could net about $21,000 annually, she adds.

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