Nowadays, it seems as if every business tries to promote the green agenda. However, 34 years ago, a business model based on recycling and reusing was a decidedly uncommercial idea. That did not stop Judy Rhodes from opening A SECOND LOOK in 1982, the first upscale consignment store of its kind. People had few choices then: throw away perfectly good clothing or donate it to a thrift store. In an inspired moment, Judy was one of the first in the country to change the shopper’s ideas of just what a consignment store could be by asking herself a few simple questions. “What if resale could be more than just what we find at charity thrift stores? What if it actually could be upscale…like the department stores from where the clothing originated?” Drawing inspiration from discount retailers like Fileen’s Basement in Boston, A SECOND LOOK was born by ignoring the status quo.
With a mere seven dollars and a passion for her vision of a new kind of resale experience, Judy purchased 28 boxes of clothes from a rummage sale. The first storefront was a modest 800 square-feet, but legions of consignors and customers dedicated to the ideas she had soon followed. After expanding to a larger storefront in the same North Phoenix neighborhood, Judy’s sister Jeri Watson joined the team, later becoming a partner in 1994. Due to the store’s success, A SECOND LOOK outgrew its surroundings quickly and moved three times before settling into a massive 25,600 square-foot location in 2002. Although successful in their own right, Judy and Jeri have continuously given back to the community by mentoring many other stores along the way and collaborating with several different charities to donate clothing throughout the United States and abroad. Through their partnerships, A SECOND LOOK has helped Sudanese refugees and empowered women in Africa who use donated items from A SECOND LOOK to start their own businesses.