Fashion-forward teens and young adults often face the perplexity of having a full closet, yet still "nothing to wear." They're also usually on a budget. Enter: Plato's Closet — a national chain of stores that buy and sell gently used brand-name clothing and accessories for teens and 20-somethings.
The Lehigh Valley's first Plato's Closet at 1922 Catasauqua Road in the Valley Plaza shopping center (next to Yocco's) in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, opened for buying only June 10. It will begin selling items at up to 70 percent off mall retail prices during a grand opening on Thursday.
"It typically takes about six weeks to fill up a store with inventory," said Ryan Simmons, who co-owns the store with his wife, Julie. "And what you see in the front of the store is only about half of our stock. We like to keep as much in storage, so we can replenish the racks with fresh items each day."
Male and female apparel, organized by style, color and size, includes popular brands such as American Eagle, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch. The store also carries accessories, including hats, jewelry, sunglasses and bags.
A key difference between Plato's Closet and consignment shops is the payment of cash for goods upfront. At consignment shops, you do not receive payment until your clothing or other items are sold at a later date.
"We take on all of the risk," Simmons said. "But we're selective in what we buy. We take about 5 percent of what we look at — only buying the latest styles in great condition. We also won't buy something if we have too much of it already in stock."
According to store manager Kellen Simmons, son of Ryan and Julie, a critical part of their operation lies in communicating well with customers.
"Our buyers make sure to let customers know why we can't buy certain items and suggest other items that are needed at that time," Kellen Simmons said. "They're also trained to identify counterfeit items."
The 5,000-square-foot store, complete with nine dressing rooms, is the former space of Supercuts Training Center and Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. It marks the third Plato's Closet for the Allentown couple, who also operate stores in Dickson City and Vestal, N.Y.
"We're very hands on and try to get to each location about three to four times per week," said Ryan Simmons. "My Toyota 4-Runner has 370,000 miles on it, and my Lexus that I bought last year has 130,000 miles."
Info: 610-443-5033 or http://www.platosclosetallentown.com.
A tip from Mike Bedics of Bethlehem led me to confirm that a business just east of Plato's Closet is no longer serving pizza and hot dogs, among other items, in the Shopper's Village shopping center in Bethlehem. The owner of Dad's Pizza and Dogs at 2362 Catasauqua Road (next to Carvel Ice Cream) seems to have disconnected the shop's phone number and locked its door for good.
A June 6 post on the company's Facebook page reads, "We should know by the end of the week if we can reopen under new ownership and new name 'Village Pizza and Grill' same great food and new look."
A Facebook message asking someone from the company to contact me garnered no result. I'll keep an eye out for developments.
Following last Sunday's mention of a Checkers coming to the former Arby's at 2585 Easton Ave. in Bethlehem, I was inundated with phone calls and emails informing me of another Checkers coming to South Fourth Street in Allentown.
Unfortunately, the company's website does not show restaurants that are "coming soon," so I was unable to learn about its construction last week. I originally said the Bethlehem location would be the first in the Lehigh Valley, and it looks like this still holds true.
Checkers spokesman Greg Avdoian said a grand opening for the Bethlehem restaurant is set for Thursday while the Allentown eatery is scheduled to open sometime in August.
Just next door to the future Allentown Checkers, a new CVS/pharmacy is holding a grand opening today. According to CVS's director of public relations Mike DeAngelis, the 13,000-square-foot store at 315 W. Emmaus Ave. is replacing a 9,000-square-foot CVS/pharmacy across the street.
The new 24-hour store will feature increased parking, expanded food department, pharmacy drive-thru, and digital photo café where customers can customize and print digital and smartphone pictures. The pharmacy will also expand to 24-hour operations.
Northampton Borough Farmers Market held a ribbon cutting Tuesday on Main Street between 20th and 21st streets, near the Roxy Theatre. It will be open 3-7 p.m. Tuesdays through late September.