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Museum’s consignment store closes

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Supporters of Second Chance Consignment Shop, 155 W. Cedar St., helped liquidate the outgoing store in full fashion on Friday.

 

Carole Platt, manager for eight years, said there wasn’t enough left in the store to keep it open after nearly a month of discounts. It officially closed on Feb. 25.  

 

The liquidation follows leaders with the Sequim-Dungeness Museum & Arts Center’s decision to close due to declining profits, increased competition and a hard-to-replace vacancy with Platt’s retirement.

MAC leaders estimate it lost $5,390 net in 2013.

 

However, supporters aren’t so sure the decision was right to close.

 

Platt said she thinks Second Chance had a totally different clientele than other resale shops.

 

“We had women coming in every week,” she said. “They were saying, “What am I going to do without you?” One woman came in crying and another made signs for us.”

 

Irene Greene, a longtime volunteer, said they were very selective about the items they sold in the high-end women’s shop.

 

“We didn’t make it too full,” Greene said. “Carole streamlined and beautified the store.”

 

The MAC began operating Second Chance 17 years ago after owners Nancy and Boyd Peterson donated it as a fundraiser for the museum.

 

Platt feels the store should not be closed and that leaders with the MAC never spoke to her about the finances or how to improve business.

 

“I don’t ever recall them telling me it was in the red,” she said. “I think they’re closing their best asset.”

 

Richard Beckerman, a museum consultant, said at the MAC’s annual meeting in January that the closure will save the museum about $21,000 a year.

 

In a 2013 profit and loss statement from the museum, the store showed to generate just over $56,000 in earned income but lost a net $5,390 in income after expenses.

 

Beckerman said the total sales are down about $10,000 from 2012 to 2013, too.

 

These same documents show the MAC’s 2013 net ordinary income was $6,526 but additional costs factored in — 60 percent of the bookkeeper’s work ($7,920), six hours of executive director DJ Bassett’s time per month ($2,160) and federal unrelated business income tax ($1,836).

 

Beckerman said Bassett must review transactions, authorize and sign the checks to go out, and make sure cash counted from the till is the same as what was deposited in the bank for example and resolve any necessary problems. The MAC also must pay an Unrelated Business Income tax since resale clothes don’t fall under its mission.

 

Beckerman said the net loss was surprising since the store performed well over years but Sequim has seven consignment shops, many new ones, that are a likely sign the economy still has a ways to go in its recovery.

 

“Given the competition with many more outlets serving the same market, the huge one-year drop in revenue, the museum found itself in a place where it could not subsidize it in the coming year,” Beckerman said.

 

John Beitzel, former MAC board of trustees treasurer, said while the board of trustees voted unanimously to close the shop, no one wanted to really close it.

 

“It wasn’t done out of meanness,” he said. “It’s not consistent with our mission. We weren’t doing something necessarily for the community, just raising money for ourselves.”

 

Financial difficulties

The museum has seen financial difficulties overall in recent years.

 

In the MAC’s IRS form 990s, it shows they lost $43,466 net in 2008, $3,094 net in 2009, $45,317 net in 2010 and $87,372 net in 2011.

 

Beckerman, who was brought in to help fix the museum’s finances, said at the annual meeting that the museum’s available operating fund in January was about $40,000 from an endowment. That endowment is worth about $163,000, but $120,000 is restricted and can’t be used for general operating expenses.

 

To rebound, the MAC is considering an upcoming fundraiser. They’ve already added a $3 entry fee for all museum goers 13 and older with those 12 and younger still free and for remaining free for all visitors during the First Friday Art Walk. They’ll also charge 30-percent commission to artists in their gallery, up from 25 percent. The museum increased rent for the Dungeness Schoolhouse and its exhibit center while adding to its programming.

 

For more information, visit www.macsequim.org or call 681-2257.

 

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