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A little reFINEment

By Staff | Sep 9, 2011

Shepherdstown resident Judi Platz opened reFINEments last week. The store allows individuals to shop and consign new and gently-used clothing while offering a boutique like shopping experience. (Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks)

Judi Platz has known for years she has wanted to open a store.

It was just a matter of when.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to have a girls’ store,” the former senior vice president of a software company said.

And when Platz moved to Shepherdstown in 2001, she thought opening her store in the downtown business district would fulfill her dream.

“But I just didn’t know what it could be,” Platz said.

Shepherd University student Brittany Grimes browses the racks at reFINEments, Tuesday. (Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks)

So when the space at 125 W. German St., formerly Raw Earth Organics, went up for rent earlier this summer, Platz jumped at the opportunity. She turned in her notice at her software company in Reston, Va., in early July and began working on what became reFINEments.

reFINEments opened on Sept. 1 and is a consignment store in which patrons can consign and shop new and gently used clothing shoes and accessories.

Platz said her decision to open the consignment shop stemmed from losing R Design and Consign last fall. She said women who enjoyed the consigning and shopping experience then had to travel outside of the area to consign their wares.

“Based on past experience, the other consignment shop in the town did great,” said Shepherdstown Business Association President Meredith Wait. “I would wish them all the best. It feels like a good fit.”

She added, “It’s nice to see a new business come in on the heels of another one.”

And on the heels of the previous business it came.

Platz said she turned the German Street space from a grocery store into the boutique-looking shop in about a week’s time.

“If I’m going to do this and reinvent myself, I need to jump in with both feet,” she said.

In the time she decided to open the store and her first day of business, Platz said she could not have gotten to the first day without the support of her family and friends.

“It took a village. I’m amazed at everyone’s willingness to see someone’s dreams come true,” she said.

Her friend, Diana de Bello, allowed Platz to set up the layout of the shop in her basement for about five weeks and lent support during the time leading up to opening day.

“It was nice to see the space take shape,” she said. “I certainly think she’ll have continued success with this. I do think it is a contribution to the fabric of Shepherdstown.”

Platz’s other good friend, Linda Keeling would spend spare moments from her busy life as a midwife to help her ready for the launch of the store.

“How many of us get to do that? We all think about those things we wish we did with our lives,” Keeling said.

Keeling said while Platz was a dynamic mind in the software world, she also is creative and has creativity to lend to the world of style.

“As a friend I always felt that that part of her she needed to do something with,” she said.

And Platz already has other ideas to bring her store to another level.

She wants to host clothing swap nights as well as have a night each quarter in which women down on their luck can get “made over” and be surrounded by the support of other women.

“It’s important for women to take care of other women,” Platz said.

And redefining oneself as well as herself played a part in determining the name of the store.

“Women are really tough on themselves,” she said. “I thought about how I was reinventing myself.”

Platz thought that her store refines the consignment experience as they refine and reinvent themselves.

“Some women say they will never shop consignment, and that’s perfectly fine. But for those that do, I don’t want them to tuck the bag into the bottom of their purse,” she said.

Platz said she accepts gently used, clean clothing without a smell. She also said the item should have a decent hang appearance.

“If it looks like a great piece, you’ll wear it,” she said.

Platz also offers cash or store credit for consigned items. Pricing ranges in the low to moderate price range, depending upon the pieces.

“It would be a price point significantly lower than what you would get retail,” she said.

Platz currently is working on determining what the best hours are for the store, but she is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

She will also soon offer men’s and children’s items.

“I’d like to see her cup run over,” Keeling said. “And I’d like to see the community be a part of that.”