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Secondhand success: Mother-daughter entrepreneurs offer quality used and boutique clothing in Adrian

Joni Aggen (left) and her daughter, Carissa, are shown inside their Adrian business, Closet to Closet, located on Maine Avenue. (Ryan McGaughey / The Globe)

ADRIAN — Even though she initially opened her business on April 1, 2003, Joni Aggen wasn’t fooling around.

She still isn’t, as her business — Closet to Closet Inc. Consignment — is still going strong. In fact, Aggen’s daughter, Carissa is joining the business full-time in April and has been in charge of the boutique section at the store since its inception.

Aggen was “ready to do something” back in 2002, as she was a stay-at-home parent at the time.

“I’d always consigned my clothes, and there was another consignment store but it was a ways away,” she described. “I wish this had been around when my kids were little.

“I said to my husband, ‘why can’t we have something like that here?’ Then he bought me this building.”

Aggen’s husband, Bruce, purchased the building at 200 Maine Ave. in December 2002. Work began to totally redo the location while Aggen did research on operating a new business.

“I had an accounting background, so that helped,” she said. “That’s what I did before I had children.”   

Aggen (whose maiden name is Lynn) grew up in Adrian and graduated from Adrian High School. She lived in Sioux Falls, S.D. for three years before relocating to the Twin Cities for about three more years. That’s where she met Bruce, who’s from the Worthington area.

The Aggens raised three children, who are now all grown and out of the house. Each of their kids resides in the region, and they also now have a 1 year-old grandson.

That grandson — and individuals of all ages, for that matter — will find apparel available for them at Closet to Closet Consignment.

“We’re strictly consignment and take anything from infant clothing to men’s, women’s, juniors’ and kids,”’ Aggen explained. “Of course, our No. 1 seller is women’s clothing, and then children’s. We have this nice little section for men’s clothing that I threatened to get rid of one time, and all the wives said no.”

Closet to Closet also accepts shoes and accessories, small home decor items, and toys and baby equipment, in addition to clothing. Items must be in style and in like-new condition, be in season, be freshly laundered and clean, and have no pet hair. Items with missing buttons, rips or holes, broken zippers, or odors or stains will not be accepted.

Consigners “come from all over,” Aggen said, with many driving into Adrian from other communities.

“What I find is that people that shop consignment stores, they like to shop the whole circuit — they don’t just like to shop at Closet to Closet,” she said. “And every week, I meet somebody new.”

The small boutique section inside Closet to Closet was added about five years ago and offers a variety of new accessories. Carissa has continued to take care of that portion of the business, known as C2C’s Boutique, and will soon be creating a website for those items.

“I find it’s a nice mixture to have this little section of new clothes that you can mix with consigned clothes,” Aggen said. “It’s been a nice addition for us.

“Carissa was in third grade when we opened and she's been a huge part of this store,” she added. “I’m excited for her to be coming on board full-time.”

Carissa, who also grew up in Adrian and graduated from Adrian High School, attended Alexandria Technical College and studied sales and marketing. She’s engaged to be married and plans to live with her husband a few miles outside Adrian.

“I’ve always loved clothing and kind of grew up with it,” Carissa said.

“When she graduated from Alexandria, she voiced that she wanted to be here,” Aggen chimed in. “I said, ‘When you come back here, you need to do something to add to it.’”

Closet to Closet Consignment is currently taking in spring and summer items. Consignments are accepted by appointment only, and clothing must be folded in boxes (limit of two boxes per appointment). The business will not accept bags or garbage bags of clothing.

Closet to Closet will review consigners’ items carefully and select those that meet its standards. Consignors will get back items that don’t meet criteria.

“It needs to be presented well — the better it looks, the better it's going to sell,” Aggen said. “I also steam everything before it goes out on the floor, because I want it to look as close to new as possible.

“I was told once that when you let your guard down, that’s when your business will go down. I think that’s very true.”

Consignors will receive a payment of 40 percent of the selling price on all clothing and shoe items, and 50 percent on all other items. Consignment time is based on seasons, with merchandise sold at a reduced price after 30 days. All merchandise will be sold at clearance prices at the end of each season, with items left then donated to charity.

Closet to Closet is also an “Adrian Dragons headquarters,” as it retails a variety of Adrian Public Schools merchandise.

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The business phone number is (507) 483-2050.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

(507) 376-7320
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