Shop Melee provides ongoing consignment sales
Shop Melee's Kim Williams of Hinsdale puts a clothing item on a mannequin for photos and inspection. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Name: Shop Melee
Address: 16W231 S. Frontage Road, Willowbrook
Telephone: (855) 494-0004
Owners: Louise Juckniess, Kim Williams and Beth Greifenkamp
Updated: April 15, 2013 6:02AM
WILLOWBROOK — Clothes packed into storage bins and hanging from racks fill the warehouse space that has become Shop Melee.
Despite the look of a storage facility, every shirt, jacket, pair of shoes and purse in the consignment business tucked in on Frontage Road near Route 83 is ready to move. Each of the more than 8,000 items at the business has been listed on eBay, designated for the store’s ongoing estate sale or is awaiting listing or designation.
The business, run by three Hinsdale women, bypasses eBay auctions and posts all items as “Buy it now” on both eBay and on its own e-commerce site. This ensures the value they set for the item is reached.
“Things normally sell within two or three months,” said Beth Greifenkamp, a founder. “But some things can take over a year to sell. If it is a unique size, if it is something that needs the right buyer, we will store it and keep posting it.”
The business takes 35 percent of the sale proceeds. The seller gets the item photographed, authenticated, researched for value and price, and posted. The fee also covers all of the seller’s eBay and PayPal charges.
Items that will bring more than $20 normally go on eBay, while items failing to meet that plateau go into the estate sale. There are exceptions, however. On a recent day, a painting of a tiger hung on a wall at the estate sale, seeking a price well into three figures. The business owners said shipping fees would be astronomical.
Partner Louise Juckniess began selling items herself on eBay about 10 years ago. When she made some money off gently used items, other family members and friends asked her to sell their items.
“It got to the point that my house had mannequins everywhere,” Juckniess said.
Kim Williams, the third founder and partner, said selling items yourself and giving that money to charity is better than simply giving items to charity.
“A purse is a purse is a purse to Goodwill,” Williams said. “You call sell a Coach purse and give that money to a church or charity rather than just giving the item to Goodwill.”
Shop Melee has grown to five full-time and five part-time employees, as well as having interns and mavens, who in different parts of the country and direct people looking to sell items.
“I have seen things sold (in eBay auctions) for $2 when they are worth $100,” Williams said.
Juckniess said there are individuals who, like at a pawn shop, want their money immediately and do not want to wait for the consignment process to run its course.
“They may bring in an item worth $30 and we will pay $5 for it. But then we pick up all the costs of storing it, listing it, etc.,” Juckniess said.
Greifenkamp noted the Shop Melee name came from a staff member. Experts recommend a catchy word that doesn’t really have anything to do with the business, Greifenkamp said.
“But ‘melee’ does have to do with mess and craziness. So it does fit us.”