By Bob Uphues
Divine Consign, an Oak Park-based, up-scale home furnishings and furniture consignment shop is leaving its longtime home at 809 S. Oak Park Ave. and moving into half of what was once Sports Authority at 1800 Harlem Ave. in North Riverside.
The new store will roughly quadruple the footprint of the business, said owner Kellie Scott, and the new location also comes with plenty of parking – something in short supply at the Oak Park location.
"It'll be the same kind of feel, but it will look much more professional and have much more space," Scott said. "It'll be easier to shop, and the selection will be five times as much as in Oak Park."
Divine Consign offers furnishings that Scott gets from sources such as Merchandise Mart showrooms, furniture stores and model homes, so customers never know exactly what they'll find. While much of the merchandise is new or almost new, Scott said, Divine Consign is able to sell at 20 to 40 percent of the retail price.
In addition, she said, the store keeps items on display for just 60 days, and the items are marked down 20 percent every 21 days they are on the showroom floor. But about 75 percent of the items sell before the first markdown, Scott said.
"Our turnover is crazy," Scott said. "People come in often, because everything is different."
While towns like North Riverside, which depends on sales tax revenue to largely fund village operations, have seen brick-and-mortar retailers reel in an increasingly online economy, Divine Consign is growing.
"We're hoping to triple our revenue from here [in the Oak Park location]," she said.
The store has also received a bump in traffic since Scott began, last summer, to co-host the radio call-in program "Real Estate Revealed," which airs on 560-AM at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
Divine Consign has called Oak Park home for 10 years, the last seven on Oak Park Avenue. While she loves Oak Park, Scott said, "There was just no space big enough for us in Oak Park."
The Oak Park store employs 10 people, Scott said, but she expects that number to grow when the move to North Riverside finally is made.
There's no firm opening date for the North Riverside location, Scott said, but she's aiming for a date in the spring to open the doors there. It's unclear when Divine Consign will be leaving the Oak Park location, which is currently under lease.
Divine Consign occupies about 10,000 square feet of space in Oak Park, but Scott said the store can only use about 4,500 square feet of that area. The North Riverside location is roughly 20,000 square feet.
The business also has a 12,000-square-foot warehouse in LaGrange, which it will maintain for at least a time after the North Riverside store opens. However, said Scott, "the intention is to consolidate everything in North Riverside."
Scott, a former attorney, also previously owned a clothing consignment resale business called Trends, but she sold that business last August.
Build out on the new space has not yet started and is dependent on the former Sports Authority being divided by the building's owner. The other half of the space has been leased by the Cook County Health and Hospital System, which is planning to open a 21,000-square-foot primary care health center there.
The county has already submitted its building plans to the village of North Riverside, and the health center is expected to open in late 2018. The county is paying $26,706 a month to lease the space for the first five years of its 10-year lease.