Annual kids' consignment sale at Berglund Center boasts back-to-school savings

It's back-to-school time and of course that means new clothes for the kiddos.

Many parents agree that gets pretty expensive.

One woman has made a business out of clothing children on a budget.

Twice a year, LFA Consignment fills the Berglund Center with racks of clothes, towers of toys and everything in between.

Ellen Cleveland bought the business about a decade ago and has grown it from a parking lot to the Special Events Center at Berglund.

“I looked over at my friends that were helping me and I said: ‘You know what, one of these days I want to be at the Berglund Center. I want to help so many families that we need the Berglund Center.’ And we all kind of took a chuckle at it honestly,” Cleveland said.

The small business owner and single mom worked that dream to reality.

“When I bought it there was about 50 consigners and now we've grown to about 500,” Cleveland said.

Ryan Michalski started as just a shopper saving on her daughter's dresses.

Now, she's one of the 500 who sell their children's clothes to make extra money.

“I can afford to buy her several things and if she doesn't like something for whatever reason, I can hang it back up, put a price on it, sell it at the next sale and I'm not out much anything,” Michalski said.

In fact, the clothes she sells at the spring and fall sale pay for her kid's new wardrobe.

“I spend, I don't know, $250-$300 to outfit both of my kids for an entire season,” Michalski said. “I’ll make about that with what I have to sell, so it's almost like free clothes for my kids.”

“When consigners pick up their checks, that is one of my most favorite times. I love to see especially the first timers, kind of look down at their check and their eyes get really wide and they had no idea they were going to make that amount of money,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland says it's about making money and memories.

“I love hearing the chatter on consigner night. ‘Oh, that was mine and your little girl is going to look so cute in that and I remember when my daughter wore that.’ The memories behind all of these things - they're great stories. I love hearing them,” said Cleveland.

She suggests holding off on buying back-to-school fall clothing like jeans and jackets until the sale the last weekend of September.

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