By Jessica Rodrigo Victoria Advocate, Texas.
Owning a consignment shop is a woman's dream come true.
"It's like Christmas all the time," Jennifer Henry, owner of Encore Resale Shoppe, said. "You never know what is going to be in the package."
This year, she is celebrating 35 years of serving the community's clothing and consignment needs.
Encore was born after Henry noticed a few Austin stores offered consignment opportunities for their shoppers. She brought the idea back to Victoria, where she found a prospective space on the corner of Laurent Street and Mesquite Lane.
"It was a third of the size when we first opened," she said. "Over the years, we've expanded and moved things around."
In the beginning, she would get a lot of women's clothing and accessories, and eventually, consignors brought in more and more items, she said.
Now, there is an entire wall dedicated to wedding and formal dresses, a children's section, shelves for household items and a space that has earned the name "man cave."
Sabre Sparkman, of Victoria, has shopped at the store since it opened in 1979.
"It's hard to walk out with nothing," she said. "I can find what I want, and the clothes are high quality."
Oftentimes, Sparkman, 47, will visit Encore before hitting the department stores in the area. She's even built such a strong relationship with Henry and the employees that they know her taste in merchandise.
"She's like a personal shopping assistant," Sparkman joked about Henry.
The personal attention that Sparkman gets at Encore is one of the reasons she believes the shop has been open for so long.
"They treat you like family," she said. "We talk instead of shop sometimes."
Rosanne Resendez-Wagner, of Victoria, has been a consignor at Encore for more than 15 years and has used the service to make room for new things and make an easy buck. She's also a loyal customer and was Henry's employee at one time.
To maintain her healthy shopping habits, she said anytime she buys something -- from Encore or elsewhere -- she tries to get rid of something.
"I have to purge," Resendez-Wagner said. "If I don't do it, then I won't have room."
Henry has about 3,000 consignors in her database now but said she has probably had about 6,000 since she opened. Over that time, she's seen a lot of trends come into the store and go when the next trend comes around. But if it's in style, she and her employees will do their best to sell it.
The store wouldn't be here if it weren't for the customers and consignors, she said.
"This is a service for Victoria," she said. "Customers get great bargains, and people get to make room for more of what they want."
She's seen a lot of items come into the store with a little wear while other items come in brand new.
"Everything has become so disposable," she said. "Their (customers) wants are greater, and we can satisfy people's wants at an affordable price."