CLAREMONT — Almost as soon as La Bouteille wine and gift shop moved out of the corner store space on Opera House Square, a new business moved in.
However, owner Evelyn Cormier — not the one of “American Idol” fame — isn’t really new to the business. Her shop, Life’s Treasures, moved here from Lebanon, where it initially opened in March 2018.
“I’m not quite sure what’s going to be popular in this area,” said Cormier. The shop is like a small department store, with sections of children’s toys, kids’ and adults’ DVDs and games, a Man Cave section (tools, etc.), maternity, children’s clothing, adults’ scrubs and shoes. There are housewares and a pet section, board games and jewelry, and innumerable other nifty items.
Cormier and her husband, Vince, are getting the store ready for its grand opening on Saturday, while their granddaughters Hannah and Elizabeth hang out. They’ve just passed their inspection and all the goods are on the shelves.
For 24 years, Cormier was a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA). “I reached the burnout point and I needed to get out of that,” she said.
“I’ve always loved consignment shops,” she said. Her mother used to take her shopping at consignment stores. “You never know what you’re going to find.”
Case in point: the ugliest baby doll ever. In an old-fashioned bassinet near the counter lies a porcelain-faced, life-size baby doll, with shiny brown curls. Its mouth is screwed up into the perfect expression of a wailing, hungry, angry baby.
“We get a lot of conversations about that,” said Cormier.
“When I told him I wanted to start a consignment shop, my husband — he told me later — thought I was completely crazy,” she said. However, she’s made it work.
Consigners get 50 percent of the sale of their item. Each consigner has a code, which is marked on the item’s tag and then entered into the accounts at the end of the day.
“Consigners are a big part of our success,” said Cormier. “It’s a lot of work. We have to mark it all and try to get it out on the shelf as quickly as we can.”
In 60 days, if an item hasn’t sold Cormier will mark it down, and if it still doesn’t sell she’ll donate it . However, she keeps an eye out for what people want.
If a customer doesn’t find what they’re looking for, they’re invited to write it down on Cormier’s wish list and leave their number. If the item comes in, “They’ll get first choice before we put it on the floor,” she said. “That’s been a big success.”
Other items appear on Life’s Treasures Facebook page, where the customer reviews remark on how helpful and friendly Cormier is. Surprisingly, some customers say they couldn’t make it to the store but Cormier shipped their item to them.
“If someone can’t make it to the store, we’ll deliver,” she said.
Cormier’s brother, Jimmie Yontz, is the proprietor of the card shop a few doors away. In Lebanon they also had stores in the same building, but Yontz moved first when that building was sold. Cormier lives in Newport, so she’s glad to be closer, and she likes seeing her brother every day. It took her a few months to follow him to Claremont, but she’s glad she did.
“I’m glad we waited, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten this awesome space,” she said.