LEWISBURG — Art teachers know the struggle of leaning over a student’s painting and walking away with unwanted color on the sleeve of a favorite shirt.
It’s what long inspired Cindy Krebs to avoid retail prices in favor of second-hand scores at used clothing stores. Now that she retired from Milton Area School District, Krebs purchased a turnkey boutique of her own in downtown Lewisburg.
Leslie’s Closet opened July 6 at 325 Market St. The store offers an array of women’s clothing, shoes and accessories like handbags and jewelry. It had once been Mimi’s Boutique and had operated under a different name prior. Krebs guessed the storefront’s been home to a secondhand clothing shop some 25 years. She said she’s shopped there about as long.
“I’ve always loved this store. I was a regular patron,” Krebs said.
“Being an art teacher, I couldn’t afford expensive clothing,” she said. “I’d be working with a kid and boom, I have clay or paint on my arm. I’d say, you know what, I’m never buying retail again. That’s why I started coming here.”
Krebs launched into her career as a small business owner immediately after exiting a 35-year run as an art educator, first at Midd-West and later Milton schools.
Reba Rohrer knows what it’s like to walk away from work with paint on her clothes, too. She’s also a retired art teacher and close friend of Krebs. They worked together the bulk of their careers.
Rohrer intended to go into business with Krebs at Leslie’s Closet. Ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be, she said. However, she’s still lending a hand. Rohrer brought her friend lunch one day last week. She stuck around to help create a Facebook page. She also helped rig a cozy for a commercial steamer, protecting their hands when ridding clothes of wrinkles.
“One thing about Cindy, not only does she have a great eye for color and design, she’s always been a well-put-together lady; well-coifed, well-dressed. She just has an eye for that,” Rohrer said.
Cindy’s husband, Todd, is self-employed in plumbing and heating. The couple have a daughter, the namesake of Leslie’s Closet, a 17-year-old Milton Area student. Krebs had varied motivations to open her own business, one of which, she said, is the cost of health insurance for her family.
She once worked part-time retail at a jewelry chain to pay down student loans and said she’s developed bookkeeping skills aiding her husband. She rolled those skills along with lessons learned as the head of a classroom into her business. New to her are the tasks of inventory and price management. She buys goods for the store by appointment.
A used clothing store must meet some expectation of quality and bargain but it must also make a profit to remain in business.
“I’ve learned not to price too low. Don’t underscore yourself.
You don’t want to give it away,” Krebs said. “You have to be discerning, too.”
So, she took control of a store she loved and is working to make it her own. She moved merchandise off of racks and onto walls to make for wider aisles. She’s also bringing in antiques to help showcase her wares. A mannequin rests on a vintage school desk in her store’s front window, an homage to her days as a teacher.
“I knew I was going to have to do something after teaching. I’m not a sit-at-home person,” she said. “This was meant to be.”
The summer is effectively a soft opening at Leslie’s Closet. Krebs expects to offer specials beginning in September.
She’s working on creating a social media presence, too.
The shop’s phone number is 570-524-6464. Find it on Facebook.