The Beehive Resale Shop, now in its 30th year, is buzzing with an array of colorful designer ladies’ clothing.
The business, which began in 1983, is at 449 N. Main St. near the southwestern corner of Main and Fifth Avenue.
Owner Chrissy Filka grew up in northern Virginia. She worked in risk management for a secondary mortgage in Richmond, Va. Then she focused on raising her children, when they were younger. Seven years ago, she bought the shop from original owner Bette Carter, now the Heritage Museum executive director.
Filka credits her staff for forging trustworthy, helpful relationships with customers, and Carter for building a good base both of regular customers and people bringing in clothes to sell by consignment. Now, there are around 700 regular consigners, among more than 7,000 who have brought clothes in.
The Beehive and Filka are a perfect “fit,” so to speak. “I always loved shoes, especially, and clothes and jewelry,” Filka said. She enjoys being around a variety of clothes, but, much more so “it’s the people. We have many wonderful customers, who’ve become friends.” She also enjoys “being part of Main Street.”
Filka “dresses nicely” when working in the store, which includes weekends, clerk Elizabeth Jones said. The store is open daily in warmer months, otherwise all but Sunday.
The Beehive sells women’s clothing mostly classic in cut and look, or “cutting-edge” in style, with designer or “better-label” pedigree. The store also carries a new line of fashion jewelry, also various shoes and purses.
As of Friday, the most unusual clothing item was likely a vintage dress, about 25 years old, by French company Leonard of Paris, Filka said. “It’s highly collectible. It’s hard to find” including on eBay. “It’s in perfect condition.”
However, generally vintage clothes do not sell nearly as well as contemporary styles and less so than in Asheville, Filka said. Classic looks are more timeless. Filka said they include a simple “sheath” cut — sleeveless, and knee-length.
Brands that often come in are Talbots, Liz Claiborne, St. John’s knitwear, Chico’s, Coach and Dooney and Bourke. Sizes vary from extra small to “3X” triple plus. Clothes are arranged and displayed first by size, then color and then style. Half-off and 75-percent off items are in the back right section.
The staff reviews clothes brought in for consignment, to decide which ones are sellable enough and a fair price. Jones noted a great deal on a Talbot shirt in good condition, normally $80 new, that is marked for $8.
There are always some clothes on special discount, and they rotate by how long they have been in the shop. The price color tags also rotate, in what type of discount they stand for. Cards in the shop explain the current color tag code. Typically, an item retains its regular store price for its first 30 days in Beehive. Now, those items have orange tags. In each successive month it is marked down, by 20 percent, then 50 then 75 (currently marked by violet tags) for its final month before it is donated. It goes to charities in neighboring counties, not local ones, so it is more likely “no one sees it” here, Filka explained.
Filka’s favorite promotion is a civic-minded one, of providing free prom gowns. This was the sixth year in which the Beehive, Miller’s Dry Cleaning and Summit Marketing Group combined for the Grant Her Wish prom dress giveaway in the spring. Nearly 70 girls received prom dresses this time, and last year as well. Thanks for the proms have come in not only soon after the event, but even three months later, Filka noted.
The program is taking on extra meaning for her, now that her eldest child Caroline Vogel is an incoming high school sophomore and approaching prom time. Caroline works at the store this summer. Filka’s son Andrew Vogel is 12. Her two stepchildren are of similar ages. Her husband is Ron Filka.
Also, she has provided gift certificates for silent auctions and other benefits, such as for the Flat Rock Playhouse and Mainstay women’s shelter. The shelter, a haven from domestic violence, is across the Wall Street Alley on the other side of Fifth Avenue.
The consignment split is 40 percent of the sale price for the consignor with payments made the last five business days every other month including this month.
Each consigner may bring as many as 20 items in per weekday. They need to be in “near-perfect” condition, Filka stated. This means clothes that are clean with no wrinkles, stains or odors. “Preferred items are high quality, brand names and should be currently fashionable or classic styles,” she said.
Items not accepted are mainly donated to charity, as well as accepted ones that do not sell after three months. Filka said a clerk can give a hunch but not decision about acceptability from an example of a batch of clothes, before they are left at the store. An exception is the store returns unsold furs to the consignor. The Beehive does not consider lingerie, robes, bathing suits, wind suits, “scrubs” or costume jewelry.
Store hours are 10-5 daily, except 10-4 on Saturdays. For more about the Beehive, call Christine Filka at 692-8882 or check http://beehiveresale.com/pages/home.php.