Consigning Women: Cathy Parker and her staff thrive on style

Cathy Parker, third from left with her Yorkie, Abbe, couldn’t run Consigning Women without her staff, from left, Pam Campbell, Terry Rodenbeck, Sharon Word, Susan Craver and Marsha Bohstedt. (Dennis Murphy/Contributor)

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Consigning Women owner Cathy Parker has a way about her. Her warmth and the tidy Sun City shop make every guest feel at home. 

The cozy Consigning Women has racks dedicated to brands like Chico’s, while Kate Spade and Michael Kors sit neatly on the wood display cases created by Parker’s son, Tony Peters. Easy Spirit Traveltime shoes are among fun offerings. 

“We look for items from the better department stores or designer brands,” Parker says. “They have to be no older than 2 years old.”

Customers wishing to consign clothing or accessories must make an appointment. 

“We don’t do walk-ins,” Parker says. “We learned that early on. We’ve been here almost 14 years. I think people have a stigma about consignment shops. They’re called a ‘drop and run.’ People bring everything in that they just want to try to sell. 

“If I did that, you couldn’t walk in our back room.”

First, Parker consults with the customers and then she sets a consignment appointment, if they meet her requirements. Items must be freshly laundered, ironed or dry cleaned and on hangers. She does not accept anything in bags. 

“It’s worked for us,” Parker says. “I think my customers and my consigners appreciate that. I have a good following. I have consigners who will bring items in every 90 days.”

Items are placed on the floor for 90 days and consigners get 40% of the selling price. Anything priced at $25 and under that does not sell is donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters. Consigners receive a donation receipt. 

“I, on an average, put at least 100 new items out every day, just by the appointments,” she says with a smile. “I think I’ve put almost 255,000 items in this shop in 14 years.”

At the end of September, Parker held a contest awarding a gift certificate to whomever brought in item 250,000, and the person who purchases it. 

Cathy Parker sells clothing for fur babies in honor of her Yorkie, Abbe. (Dennis Murphy/Contributor)

“People were coming in and having a ball trying to find that one item,” she says.

An Indianapolis native, Parker had a consignment shop on the westside of her hometown for almost 10 years. Parker moved to Arizona in 2006 to work for Realtors in home staging. 

“That’s when the housing market went really downhill,” she says. “I thought, ‘OK. I love this business and the shop,’ so I opened here. It’s just taken off like crazy.”

She chalks it up to her quality merchandise, which also includes activewear and designers like Kenneth Cole, Gucci and Calvin Klein.

“We sell a lot of western wear in here as well,” Parker says pointing at an Native American embroidered black suede jacket. “A lot of my consigners from Wickenburg bring their western clothes down here — their boots and their hats. We sell Harley-Davidson in here as well.”

Parker is proud of Peters’ woodworking, which is peppered throughout the consignment shop. An exhibit designer at the Mesa Historical Museum, Peters earned his master’s degree from ASU in woodworking, furniture design and ceramics. He built the jewelry cases with repurposed wood from high school bleachers and Arizona copper. Peters also contributed shoe racks and a table made out of a ship hatch door. He bought it for $10 at a garage sale.

He’s not the only family member involved in the business. Abbe’s Closet is named after her rescue Yorkie and features clothing for the fur babies.

Consigning Women

Bell Camino Center

10712 W. Bell Road, Sun City