Christine Meehan of Stony Brook was traveling in New England last summer when she visited the consignment store where her cousin worked. She fell in love with the concept and began to consider opening her own shop, eventually pitching the idea to her friend and neighbor of 18 years, Donna Bauch.
The pair opened the doors to their new business, Divine Consign, on Nov. 3 at 37 West Main St. in Smithtown. In addition to advertising in local media, their feet-on-the-street approach to finding merchandise to sell – including handing out fliers in stores and mailboxes – yielded the results they'd hoped for.
"Our biggest fear [was] that we wouldn't have enough items to open the store," Meehan said. "But since then, we have more than enough. People call us every day."
Divine Consign accepts designer and brand-name merchandise on a 90-day consignment period; sellers take home half of what the items sell for in the store. Already they have more than 150 consigners bringing them merchandise – so much so that Meehan and Bauch have been able to be selective in the kind of items they take in.
Their business benefited from their husbands' handiwork: Ronnie Meehan and Jeff Bauch built the dressing rooms and painted. The store also benefited from other stores' closings: Meehan and Bauch found display cases for free on Craigslist and acquired racks from a J. Crew location.
"We were able to start out with a lot of nice things and we didn't have to lay out a lot of money," Meehan said.
Already, Meehan said Divine Consign has been so successful that she and Bauch decided to start giving back to the community. They participated in fundraisers at Smithtown West High School and Northport High School and will be providing dresses for the Ward Melville High School senior fashion show.
Not long after Smithtown gained one consignment shop, it lost another. Tanya Deutsch, owner of, moved her business a few weeks ago from the Marwood Plaza in Smithtown to a new storefront at 6166 Jericho Turnpike in Commack. She wanted to expand, she said, and she wanted to find a busier shopping center for her location.
"I'm finding a lot more people were driving from the Commack area than the Smithtown area," Deutsch said.
But so far, Meehan said her store's traffic has exceeded expectations.
"There's a lot of foot traffic here, which is good," she said. "... I think it's the economy. It's a good time to open a place like this."