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Store embraces philosophy of saving

Teens and twentysomethings can get cash for their used clothes or browse the racks of recycled clothing at new shop set to open next week.

August 11, 2011|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com
  • Kim Forsyth, owner and operator of Plato's Closet in Santa Ana, talks about all the great deals that can be found at her store. The store's grand opening is set for Aug. 18.
Kim Forsyth, owner and operator of Plato's Closet… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Kim Forsyth's new retail store, Plato's Closet, has been semi-open for about a month. But it hasn't been selling clothes to customers. Rather, the store keeps busy buying old clothes from customers.

Customers have had a hard time not being able to buy any of the neatly organized, colorful garments, shoes and accessories — all with price tags averaging $10, Forsyth said.

Girls have tried by asking to put items on hold, or even begging and pleading. When all that didn't work, the girls still wouldn't give up.

"I have girls hiding stuff in the winters' department because they want to come back for the grand opening and buy it," Forsyth said. "Isn't that hilarious?"

The 37-year-old Huntington Beach resident hasn't sold a single piece as she builds up her stock, but come Aug. 18, Plato's Closet will officially open for business.

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The South Coast Metro-area store, at 3814 S. Bristol St. in Santa Ana, is a national franchise targeting co-ed teenagers to twentysomethings looking to buy or sell gently used, trendy clothes.

Minnesota-based Winmark Corp. has licensed more than 320 Plato's Closets nationwide. The closest store to Orange County used to be in Escondido.

"This has been like a dream for me," Forsyth said. "It's been my baby for like a year, and now it's coming to fruition."

Santa Ana resident Kimberly Izquierdo, 15, came in Wednesday to sell some clothes that were just sitting in her closet, but she couldn't resist browsing the aisles.

Kimberly said the clothes are pretty and, unlike other re-sale shops, aren't "old."

"I already want to buy something," she said.

Employee Jennifer Enriquez, 17, said she is just as excited as the customers for opening day.

When Jennifer found out a Plato's Closet was coming to the area, she bombarded Forsyth with emails asking for a job — even before the store's location was set.

Unlike its competitors, Plato's Closet clothes are affordable for teens who spend their allowance money, Jennifer said.

Reselling clothes, she added, is an Earth-friendly proposition.

"I like the concept of recycling fashion," she said.

Preparing to open the store hasn't been easy.

Starting at 3 a.m., Forsyth begins shooting off emails before dropping her kids off and heading into the office. Her day doesn't end until about 8:30 p.m., when she gets home to tuck her daughter into bed. Her son, though, is usually already fast asleep.

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