TRAVERSE CITY — A store that opened during a year of global uncertainty will close in another.
After 19 years running Top Drawer Resale Clothing, Sharon Carmean will close the consignment store before the end of the year.
Carmean announced the closure on Facebook and said the 3,300-square-foot clothing store will remain open until Dec. 20 or 21.
She also pointed out that Top Drawer Consignment Furniture — directly across the street and run by husband, Rick Carmean — is not closing.
Top Drawer Resale Clothing opened in the fall of 2001, shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. D.C.
“It was right after 9/11,” Carmean said. “It was a crazy time to start a business. It was a crazy year then, it’s a crazy year now. It’s kind of a bookend.”
Running a retail business amidst the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t easy either.
But it’s not the sole reason Carmean decided to close the business at 1116 E. Eighth St.
“There were a number of reasons,” she said. “COVID was part of it, but not all of it. I had a lease coming up so I had to make a decision to continue or to try something different.
“It seemed like the right time to go on to the next chapter.”
Carmean said she doesn’t have a definite plan for her next career move.
“I have a lot of options, but I haven’t made a decision yet,” she said.
Carmean is pretty sure she won’t be working across the street where her husband of 36 years, Rick, operates Top Drawer Consignment Furniture at 1115 E. Eighth St.
When asked about working at the other Top Drawer, Sharon Carmean enjoyed a long, hearty laugh.
She didn’t entirely rule it out, but one gets the idea the odds are a little long.
“We’ve always said the reason it works is because we’re not together,” Sharon Carmean said of the working relationship, not the personal one.
“We’ve been great partners over the the 19 years she’s been open,” said Rick Carmean, who will continue to operate his business. “We’ve been great life and business partners.”
Besides, Rick has a little bit of time to catch Sharon.
“We’ve been here five years before the furniture store began,” she said.
Sharon Carmean estimates she’s had 13,000 consigners at Top Drawer.
While those in the area comprise most of those, some make a point to stop at the store from out of town.
“It’s been a trip,” Sharon Carmean said. “We have people from Chicago and Detroit. “When they come here on vacation, they come in and consign with us.”
The personal interaction with the customers is what Sharon Carmean will miss the most not running Top Drawer Resale Clothing in 2021.
“We’ve had a wonderful, wonderful run with some great people,” she said. “You can tell the quality of the customers with the Facebook posts.
“I’ll miss them terribly.”
A lot of customers feel the same away.
“She and her store have been an icon, that’s for sure,” Traverse City’s Paulette Hunt said Tuesday morning. “She will be missed.”
Hunt said she stops at Top Drawer Resale Clothing “every few weeks.”
Hunt identifies more as a seller than a buyer, even though “in the past I’ve been known to be a shopper.”
Hunt said consignment is a way to build a little savings account.
“She’s been a stable place that I could take my things and they always sell,” Hunt said. “She’s done a great job.”
Sharon Carmean said she is conducting clearance sales while Top Drawer Resale Clothing is still open. Rick Carmean said any remaining clothing will be donated to several different non-profits and churches.
Carmean said she plans to visit some nursing homes and assisted living facilities and update some wardrobes for the residents.
“There were a number of reasons. COVID was part of it, but not all of it. I had a lease coming up so I had to make a decision to continue or to try something different.” Top Drawer Resale Clothing owner Sharon Carmean