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Arbutus consignment shop expands to larger space

Cheryl Dabrasky, 48, sorts through items to be sold at her Arbutus consignment shop on East Drive.
Cheryl Dabrasky, 48, sorts through items to be sold at her Arbutus consignment shop on East Drive. (Staff photo by Lauren Loricchio, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

When Cheryl Dabrasky's husband, Brian Jones, was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to continue his job in a warehouse about a year ago, she knew she'd have to figure out a way to support their family.

The solution for the 48-year-old Baltimore City resident was to open Jones Consignment & Thrift Shop at 5300 East Drive.

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The business has done so well that she has moved from the 775 square foot space to 4,000 square foot space across the street formerly inhabited by BHL furniture store at 5305 East Drive.

For the past month, Dabrasky and her son, C.J. Shore, 25, manager of the shop, have been busy moving objects from the old space to the new one.

"Oh, it's a mess!" she said, when asked about having a photograph taken of the shop last Friday afternoon.

She eventually obliged.

Despite her protestations, , the store is far from a state of disarray. Furniture is set up to one side of the store, while clothing items can be found neatly arranged on racks to the rear of the large space. Pictures and other home decor items for sale are placed on the walls of the store.

"The move has been easy because we're right across the street," Shore said, seated on a black leather couch that's for sale in the store.

The new space is filled with shelves of second-hand items such as books, clothes, musical instruments, furniture and electronics. The additional room will also allow for the sale of larger items, like furniture, that they weren't able to due before to the restrictions of their former space, Dabrasky said.

The business has done well on East Drive, in part because there aren't any large furniture or electronics stores around that provide competition, Shore said.

Their largest competition comes from local churches and the thrift store such as the one hosted by Southwest Emergency Services (SWES) at the Arbutus United Methodist Church, he said.

Many of their customers are students from nearby University of Maryland, Baltimore County, campus, Jones said.

Students from the school recently purchased props from the store for a short film, he said.

"It was pretty neat," Jones said.

The overhead for a business in Arbutus is less expensive than having one at the Patapsco Flea Market or the US-1 Flea Market, Jones said.

But the new larger space poses a different set of problems for the business owner — finding items to fill the space.

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The items are purchased by Dabrasky and Jones at storage auctions and estate sales, they said.

"It's like a mix of Storage Wars and Pawn Stars," Shore said, referring to the to two popular cable network television shows, one that depicts those bidding on items left in storage lockers and the other about the operation of a pawn shop in Las Vegas.

Like the show Storage Wars, buying the contents of an abandoned storage locker at an auction depends on luck, Shore said.

Sometimes you'll spend $1 for a storage unit full of sellable items, while there are times when the opposite happens, he said.

"A lot of times you get junk," Dabrasky said.

The idea for the second-hand business was handed down from Shore's grandparents, who often sold used items at flea markets, Shore said.

It prompted him to begin selling things on EBay and at flea markets, which is why he thought opening the business with his mother was a good idea, he said.

So far, the duo have enjoyed running the shop on East Drive.

"I think right now we'll stick around here," Jones said. "I never thought my mother would have her own business."

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