One of Ohio’s first consignment stores
Encore Resale Fashions was started 47 years ago by two smart and determined sisters who made back their initial investment before they even opened for business.
One of the first consignment stores in Ohio, Encore is still family-run.
Co-owner Paula Tscholl Bennett said her late mother, Ruth Mary Tscholl, and her aunt, Joyce Theken, got the idea to open Encore after coming across a nonprofit consignment store in Cleveland.
“They both put in $500. My father was an attorney, and my uncle was an accountant, so they were both accountable to their husbands. You have to remember, this was 1973,” she said. “Before they opened, they had made their investment back. That was their claim to fame.”
Bennett said her mother was a successful Real Estate agent in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the family was from, and in Toledo, where she grew up.
“She was a smart business woman,” she said.
And feisty. Ruth Mary Tscholl attended golf school at 88. Once, while playing in Hilton Head, South Carolina, she fell into an alligator-infested pond and had to be rescued.
“She wanted to keep going,” her daughter said, laughing.
Mrs. Tscholl died in 2019 at 99.
Bennett, who runs the store with Beki Theken, her late aunt’s daughter-in-law, said Encore has been successful for 47 years because it offers high-quality products at a good price.
“We’ve had 45,000 consignors over the last 47 years,” she said. “We have great merchandise, great products, and if we didn’t have the best customer service around, we wouldn’t be here.”
Also, customer loyalty runs deep. Bennett said that 70% of Encore’s shoppers are also consignors.
“That’s up from up from 20% when I started,” she said.
Prior to joining the family business, Bennett, a graduate of Miami University, sold electrical components to electrical engineers in Chicago.
Encore shut down in March during the COVID-19 crisis, reopening as soon as the state allowed it.
“We reopened the day Gov. DeWine said we could,” Bennett said. “We went from zero to re-starting like many retailers in apparel.”
Like most other businesses, Encore has changed the way it does business. For instance, its 14 employees wear masks.
“We’re cleaner than a hospital surgery room,” Bennett said, laughing. “We’ve completely changed our operation. We clean and process clothes differently. We now do curbside consignment. I’m like a Swenson’s hamburgers girl; I’ve lost seven pounds. We’re going to start doing live videos Wednesdays and Fridays at 2 p.m., so you can buy online or call and we can hold it.”
Asked about current fashion trends, Bennett said active wear is a popular seller.
“Things that are comfortable and cute,” she said.
Encore also offers jewelry and accessories.
“We have a great selection of costume jewelry, which we buy new, but our best jewelry is consigned pieces,” Bennett said.
After one customer bought a consigned ring, a jeweler offered her $1,000.
“I told her ‘I’m so happy your happy, but next time, don’t me tell that,’ ” Bennett said laughing.
The most unusual thing Encore has ever offered? A coat made from gorilla fur (before it was outlawed).
“We’re like a department store,” Bennett said. “We do a lot in niches like wedding dresses, which are doing really well, now.”
“We have the best men’s department, ever. You can get a great shirt that cost $65, for 10 bucks. We don’t want it if it doesn’t look like it’s new. That’s our niche, it’s gotta look new.”