HOW A LOCAL RETAILER ADAPTED AFTER EXPANDING WEEKS BEFORE COVID-19
By Sonya Sorich – Digital Editor, Sacramento Business Journal
Nov 6, 2020, 11:00 am EST
The owners of Article Consignment expanded their store earlier this year, marking another sign of growth for the locally owned business that opened nearly 11 years ago in East Sacramento.
The only problem: The expanded portion of the store debuted two weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic escalated. The locally owned resale boutique would go on to temporarily stop indoor operations for two months, amid statewide restrictions designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.
"The timing wasn't perfect, of course," said Valerie Sanchez,referring to the expansion. Sanchez owns the store at 706 56th St. with her husband, Abe.
As the store adapted to its new reality, its 41-year-old operators received a loan through from the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal government's main program to help small businesses through the pandemic. Sanchez declined to say how much they received.
Initially, Article's operators tried to get a PPP loan from Wells Fargo, with no luck, Sanchez said. Article ultimately got its loan through PayPal Holdings Inc. in the program's second round. It allowed the boutique to bring its five furloughed employees back to work. But when the PPP money ran out, Article had to lay off two of those workers. The store recently added two more employees. "It was a small and very short-term fix for a large and very long-term problem," Sanchez said of the PPP.
Even with the lingering financial strain of the pandemic, she said she has no regrets about the expansion project, which added 1,500 square feet to the store, bringing its total square footage to roughly 4,500. "It was an investment into the business that we were ready to do," she said. Consignment stores such as Article sell people's items for them. People pay Article a fee to sell items such as purses and apparel, and those items still technically belong to the owner until they are sold, Sanchez said.