April 23, 2018

Plato’s Closet offspring, Style Encore, fills big shoes

HUBPIX-StyleEncoreInteriorBy Jess Wisloski

Observer staff

Plato’s Closet, the popular secondhand retail store in Taft Corners, is loosening its belt. The family behind the shop, which is part of a national franchise, is about to celebrate 15 years in business —and in the same week, they’re opening the doors of a second used-clothing business that will be run with the help of the next generation.

Signs are up in the windows of Style Encore, which is situated right next to the Closet in the shopping plaza, and Katie Schreiber, 25, and her sister Alexandra Longshore, 21, are ready to take their first steps toward entering the family biz.

“We’re pretty familiar with all the businesses and now we’re starting this new venture and hoping to succeed,” said Schreiber, who left her job as a teacher in Michigan to come back home and help her mom, Stephanie Longshore, launch Style Encore. “We’ve been getting a lot of really great positive feedback from the community on it so far.”

Schreiber has grown up around her mom’s business — when she was just two, Longshore and her aunt, Roberta Hipes, opened Once Upon a Child. The two sold it in 2007, five years after opening up Plato’s Closet in the same shopping complex.

Enter Style Encore, which, like the other two chains, as well as Play it Again Sports, is supported by Winmark Franchises, which licenses the franchises to local owners. The idea is the same as the Closet, except the clothing centers on business-oriented and professional women’s wear, though it will have casual items, as well.

“We’re doing both casual and business styles,” said Schrieber. “That’s what really separates it from Plato’s Closet; a lot of the brands we’re looking for are the Loft, Ann Taylor, Anne Klein, and it’s not just limited to one type, we’ll buy anything from a Walmart brand to a designer brand. We’ll buy all seasons all year round.”

Like her mother’s businesses, Shrieber has grown along with the offerings – a point not lost on her. “It’s kind of just a slow progression over mine and my sister’s lives — to open a kids’ store and then a teenagers’ store and now opening a business wear store with my mom and aunt,” she said.

She said the franchise setup, which allows her to run a business, but with help, appeals to her now, and she’s ready to run the show.

“It really succeeded, and did well and just kept expanding. My sister and I, and a lot of the women who have grown up with the concept [of resale of clothing,] are business women now and ready for something new,” she said. “We’re ready to offer that.”

Style Encore opens on Wednesday, Feb. 22 to accept clothing for consignment, and will likely be fully open for business and shoppers in late March, when the store is fully stocked. Plato’s Closet celebrates its 15th anniversary on Feb. 25, and will have deals, discounts and on-site giveaways through the weekend.

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