It's a place grown up girls' dreams are made of. Fun, funky, reserved, casual, classy and glamorous all at once, with more than 1,000 formal gowns lining its walls. A treasure trove that once you walk in, you want to stay a while and revel in its offerings, unencumbered.
Even the music at Classy Consignment is an eclectic mix, a little bit of something for everyone. Its owner, Suzanne Beauchaine of Lutz, likes it that way. It mirrors her own personality.
Consignment is "the finest form of recycling," Beauchaine said. Her inventory of gently used clothes, shoes, handbags and costume jewelry are sold at about a third of retail price.
Formal dresses are her niche market, Beauchaine said. With more than 1,000 gowns to choose from, there's a good chance you're going to find that perfect dress for a fraction of the cost.
"You wear it once, you may as well take advantage of the recycling and get a better price," she said.
The store has been around for 25 years, she said. She was a regular customer before buying it in 2008. When the store's previous owner of 10 years told her she was thinking of selling, Beauchaine and her husband were looking at franchise business opportunities.
"I've always loved these kind of stores," she said. But she wasn't sure about buying Classy Consignment, which was located in Sunset Plaza at the time.
It was her husband who said, "this is perfect for you," she said. Still not quite convinced, Beauchaine began working at the store on Saturdays. It didn't take long before she was sold.
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"I thought, 'I could do this. This is cool'," she said.
She's built it into a little slice of paradise since then. It's more than a place to find great deals, she said. It's a place where friends—and sometimes, confessions— are made.
Working with and getting to know her customers is Beauchaine's favorite part of business ownership. People are comfortable talking to her. She shares with them, as well. Realizing at any given moment there are six people in the store and she knows them all by name is a cool feeling, she said.
But low-key Beauchaine doesn't hound customers. She knows how annoying that can be. Instead, she greets everyone, and those who ask for help are quick to get it from her.
They're also going to get a heavy dose of honesty.
"When you try things on in my store, it's like shopping with your best girl friend," she said. "If its not flattering, I'm not going to sell it to you."
And if you don't want to be rushed in your search by a husband in tow, she has a solution for that, too.
Beauchaine points them to the "man chair" and hands them a magazine. The well-trained regulars just go straight to the chair and they're good to go, she laughed.
"It's treasure hunting. When you come into stores like this you can address your own style."
Treasure hunting can take time, but the layout of the store is designed to make it easy to find what you're looking for. Even the labeled hooks in the dressing room—Yes, No, Maybe—were put in to make things easier, she said.
"It's just how women think," Beauchaine said.
Men aren't completely left out of the mix, though. Classy Consignment also offers tuxedo rentals from Sacino's Formalwear. Sizes are available for sizes 3T through "linebacker," Beauchaine said.
Classy Consignment is located at 23020 State Road 54 in Lutz. Check out the store's website for hours and consignor policies. Items for consignment are accepted by appointment only, call 813-949-4076 the first Tuesday of the month to schedule.