By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
There was a point a few months ago when a second-hand staple in Fair Haven, The Attic, was going to get mothballed forever, ending a 40-year run on River Road.
The consignment shop’s owner, Melanie Selick, had suffered a stroke, leaving her incapable of handling the day-to-day duties necessary to run the business.
But Kathie Slavin, who, for years shopped and often dropped off clothing at the shop, simply could not let it go dark. So she took over.
While Slavin’s intent is to keep the business alive, she also plans to infuse new energy into The Attic, starting with the name. She’s rebranded it In-Style Vintage, in an appropriate shift from traditional consignment offerings toward a broader line that appeals to more than just an older woman, Slavin said.
“It’s a lot more hip,” said Slavin, of Rumson.
She also wants to sell furniture and artwork all things needed to keep up with the sudden sprout of consignment shops in the area, she said.
But her advantage is an established base, she said.
“I still want the customers who came her before I took over,” Slavin said. “But in order to expand the business I want to bring in younger people.”
So far so good, she said. In-Style Vintage opened December 1, and ever since, it’s been a steady flow of old and new customers, she said.
“I can’t really check (the merchandise) in fast enough. I’ll put something out and an hour later it’ll be gone,” Slavin said. “I’m lucky because I have a customer base because of The Attic and Melanie.”
While Slavin faces competition just a few doors down, at All Things Consignment, and in Red Bank, at the newly opened Doubletake Consignment Boutique, she’s not worried about being drowned out. Those stores offer more upscale shopping, she said, and In-Style taps into a base of “everyday shoppers.”
“I wanted to keep it going so people could wear everyday clothing, not just high-end,” Slavin said. “I think there’s more of a market for everyday clothing. I don’t think people want to wear stuff with logos splashed all over. They just want to look stylish and nice.”
In-Style will be more about clothes, though.
Slavin said she’s going to put a couple of couches in the store, a coffee station and, once we thaw out, tables and chairs outside for people to hang out.
“People are very comfortable in here and relaxed, so they’re willing to stand around talking, whereas some shops they go in, they don’t feel at ease,” she said. “Here, they feel at ease. It’s kind of different.”