Dawn Williams, owner of the South Bend Liquor Store, has started a consignment shop in the back room of the liquor store.
“We have plenty of high-end items, from furniture to jewelry to decorative pieces,” said Williams.
The cozy room has plenty to offer with items pleasantly arranged that keep your eyes moving around the room. You have to look twice or you just might miss something, but Williams little Shih Tzu, Wilson, will greet you and assist you if you cannot find what it is that you are seeking.
Opening last August, “The Back Room” as it is called by Williams, “I never really gave it a name. I just place the items out here in this back room.”
The Back Room consignment shop was created in an effort to help offset the slowing liquor business.
“We were all duped when it came to privatization of liquor sales,” said Williams.
Williams was the contract manager for the State run South Bend Liquor store and was given first opportunity for ownership when the state transitioned the liquor business in June 2012.
“I took over the liquor store at that time, but quickly found out that is was very hard to compete. People are not supporting their local liquor stores. With the buying power of places like Costco or Wal-Mart, it is very hard to compete. People think it is the taxes that make it hard, but the taxes are the same. It is the liquor distributors that have doubled the price. They are making twice what they use to make under state control.”
With the realization that the liquor store might not be able to sustain as a fulltime business, and dealing with the expected 25 percent initial loss of sales at the transition, Williams tried various items in the store, like cigarettes, but found nothing provided the additional revenue.
Enter, the Back Room.
“We are like the concept of an antique mall. I have around 6-7 dealers that bring new items all the time. We have furniture, like tables and chairs, lamps, figurines, collectables, home décor items, hand crafted painted signs, a baby section with clothes, blankets and shoes, a “Men’s Corner”, filled with sporting and fishing equipment and jewelry from Beaulah Minks.”
With the limited space, Williams has only just started with the Back Room. A life long resident of South Bend, Williams remembers a time when local artists had a place to show and sell their items, but currently there are not a lot of local artists showing items like they use to.
“My mother, April, was a stain glass artist, and once had a gallery that occupied the current Harbor Reality location. She would have all the local artists in her shop; we just do not have a place like that anymore. I would love to be that place.”
With the closure of “In Our Visions Gallery”, the ability for local artists to show there work started to dwindle away. This is an area that Williams is willing to explore.
“I actually have some additional space just off the back room, and could expand both out front and in back. But I am also selective on what comes into the Back Room.”
As easy as a phone call or a simple drop by the store, anyone could potentially have an item in the store. The emphasis is eclectic, high-end re-useable.
“If a person would want to have an item in the store, I need to understand what it is to see if it fits the focus of the store. I charge a 30% commission and take care of the tax. I am open for anyone to bring items in for me to look at. And we have a great selection for the person who is looking for that decorator piece, gift or are in need of that special item.”
Williams does some refurbishing on items like furniture, and also provides the hand painted signs for sale.
“Furniture seems to be the biggest moving item, I get all kinds of tables from dinning room to side tables. The inventory is constantly changing, so people can not stop by just once and think they have seen everything because next week I may have something different.”
To help her get the word out about the new consignment shop, Williams uses social media in the form of FaceBook (South Bend Liquor Store) to show people what she has available and also advertise the Liquor Store.
“With some of the consignment items I place with the liquor, like collectable flasks, decanters and glass sets, you will see a couple of prices. Preferred customers of the Liquor Store also collect points, so they can trade in their points for a specialty marked item.”
Both the liquor store and consignment shop are open 7-days a week.
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. Noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday Noon to 5 p.m.
“If people are looking to get ride of higher quality used items, or are in the middle of redecorating, they should stop in for a visit.”