All the clothes her children outgrew became the foundation for her career.
In 1989, Barb Plessinger had little more than bags of clothes and 600 square feet of space.
Some 25 years later she's expanded Kids Klothes Consignment Inc. to 8,000 square feet of wall-to-wall children's clothing, gear, toys and more.
"If you can't find something here, you're not looking," Plessinger said.
The store at 1756 S. Queen St. in Spring Garden Township operates by selling what consigners bring in. Kids Klothes can accept or reject the items, but if the store sells it, the consigner gets a cut.
"We sell 90 percent of what people bring in. We have close to 20,000 accounts here," Plessinger said.
That volume has also benefited local charities. Whatever doesn't sell or consigners don't want back, Kids Klothes donates to 10 nonprofits in York County, she said.
"We're usually taking a truck load every week," Plessinger said.
Quality: She said she sells and delivers quality clothes.
"If I wouldn't buy it for my children or grandchildren, I'm not putting it out there," Plessinger said.
As her three children and five grandchildren have grown, so has her business.
Four years ago, Plessinger opened College Closet at 1680 S. Queen St. in Spring Garden Township. The store's sizes start at a junior's 00 and increase from there.
Having the stores has offered her the chance to spend more time with her family, including her husband, who owns Suburban Bowlerama at 1945 S. Queen St. in Spring Garden Township.
She said she's built a solid team of four full-time employees and four part-time employees.
Hard work: But there are some challenges.
"You work hard and put in a lot of hours yourself. It's not like you leave at 5 p.m. and you're done. You're still thinking about your orders tomorrow. It doesn't leave you," Plessinger said.
A slow economy has also meant a higher volume of business for the store.
"When the economy is bad, people look for us. But people always want a bargain," she said.
Just as the economy has changed, so has the technology in the last 25 years.
What Plessinger did by hand when she started her business is now completed by computer software.
Her marketing has also changed.
"When I first started I relied on coupon clipper ads, fliers at the bowling alley, grocery stores and on people's doors. Now we rarely place any ads at all. We use Facebook and social media for promoting," she said.
Another difference is the number of consignment shops in York County.
"There weren't many around when I started. Now they're everywhere," Plessinger said.
—Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.