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Shared from the 2017-10-24 Palm Beach Post eEdition

FIRST-CLASS SERVICE AT THE SECONDHAND SHOP

Red Balloon turns 40

Consignment-shop owner Pat Snayd is the queen of recycled retail.

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Pat Snayd, of Red Balloon Consignment Shop, in Wellington on Friday. “The 40th anniversary is Nov. 4, so we are having acelebration and lots of specials,” she said. Snayd is wearing a cobalt blue Talbots dress with bell sleeves. “It was probably new,” said Snayd. “It was about $100. We priced it at $34.99. The shoes are Ivanka Trump nude pumps. They are $29.99.” PHOTOS BY STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER BRUCE R. BENNETT

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$1,125 NEW

$699 AT

RED BALLOON

Chanel black quilted leather Peep-toe pumps with 4-inch gold leather-wrapped heels for sale at Red Balloon Consignment Shop. “These were $1,125 new, and we are selling them for $699.99,” said Pat Snayd. “They are in gently used condition. They are about half off retail. Chanels never lose their value. They are supercute,” said Snayd.

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$398 NEW $129.99 AT RED BALLOON

A Marc by Marc Jacobs black leather handbag with studs for sale for $129.99 at Red Balloon. “This was $398 retail,” said Snayd. “It is in excellent condition.” Its price will drop to $97.49 on Nov. 27, and to $65 on Dec. 27.

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A Louis Vuitton burgundy monogram leather handbag for sale for $1,999.99 at Red Balloon Consignment Shop in Wellington. “It is pretty beautiful,” said Pat Snayd. “It is a good deal because it is in mint condition, and you would save $710 buying it here.” PHOTOS BY STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER BRUCE

R. BENNETT

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Gianni Bini tan ultrasuede ankle booties with gold glitter heels at Red Balloon. “They were $34.99 new,” said Snayd. “We are selling them for $22.99. They will go down to $17.24 on Nov. 26. After Dec. 11, they will be $11.49. These are just really cute fall boots in excellent condition.”

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A Bec + Bridge olive animal print stretch dress for sale. “Originally it sold for $200 to $240,” said Snayd. “We are selling it for $79.99. If it doesn’t sell by Nov. 26, it goes down to $59.99, and after Dec. 26 it will be $39.99. It is in excellent, like-new condition.”

Let’s say you’ve always coveted Chanel ballet flats. You know, the classic ones with the cap toe and the big price tag.

Those shoes will cost you around $750 on the Chanel website.

You might be able to find them at an online consignment shop, like TheRealReal, for around $300.

If you get lucky, though, your dream shoe might cost less right down the street — at the Red Balloon Consignment Shop.

Red Balloon turns 40 on Nov. 4, which makes it one of Florida’s oldest consignment shops.

There’s a beautiful, classic, barely worn pair of tan Chanel ballet flats with black toe at Red Balloon’s West Palm Beach location. Asking price: $199. Only catch: You’ve got to have a Cinderella-size foot. These flats are size 5.

Don’t lose hope: Red Balloon has two locations (the second is in Wellington), and consignors bring in piles of lightly worn items each day, many of them high-end items from brands such as Tory Burch, Prada and Lilly Pulitzer.

There’s a story behind each one, owner Pat Snayd says.

Sometimes, mothers cry when they bring in boxes full of baby clothes, lamenting that their children are growing up too fast.

Sometimes, new retirees unload their business attire and the memories of their careers.

Sometimes, women who shop too much at Nordstrom and feel guilty about it sell last year’s duds for cash at Red Balloon. Their guilt is eased — until they spend the money on Chanel flats in Red Balloon’s front window.

Snayd, of Lake Clarke Shores, is at the center of this retail recycling business.

Snayd was 29 when she and her business partner, Mary Yeager, opened Red Balloon with $1,000 each.

Originally, they sold just children’s clothing. And their first location — 900 square feet on East Coast Street near the ballparks in Lake Worth — wasn’t exactly bustling.

On their first day in business, they made a grand total of37 cents, causing Snayd to fear, “There’s no way this is going to work.”

Snayd struggled to juggle being a wife to her husband Dick, a mother to her two young children, and an owner of a business that wasn’t expected to make a profit for a year or two.

Yeager, a widow, struggled with being a single mother of two young children and working long hours and weekends.

The women couldn’t afford to hire employees, so when they needed to pick their children up from school, they simply put a “Back in 10 minutes” sign on the door.

They ended up breaking even their first two years, and then sales increased, and they expanded, adding ladies’ clothing and accessories.

Snayd eventually bought out Yeager’s half of the business so Yeager could return to teaching.

In 1990, Snayd moved Red Balloon to 1800 Forest Hill Blvd., just west of I-95 in the Forest Hill Plaza in Lake Clarke Shores. Today, that store is 5,000 square feet and sells clothing and accessories for men, women and children, and also household items and furniture.

In June 2009, Snayd added a 2,600-square-foot Red Balloon in Wellington, at 9120 Forest Hill Blvd., in the Kobosko’s Crossing Plaza.

Snayd attributes her success to several factors. “First, and foremost,” she says, “my belief system has provided me with the strength and courage to withstand all challenges along the way.”

She also credits her fabulous employees (including Melody Friend and Caren Armstrong, who have both worked at Red Balloon for 21 years). Employees get a perk: First dibs on the merchandise that comes in.

Additionally, she reveals, “From the beginning I was very selective about the quality of the consigned items; in fact, many of our consignors refer to us as being ‘picky.’ Our motto is ‘gently used.’ Good quality at a reasonable price.”

For Snayd, the most difficult part of the business is rejecting consignments. (Want to know her rules for items she chooses to consign? Go to shopredballoon.com.)

On the other hand, she has enjoyed never knowing what interesting items and people will walk through her front door.

She gets brands like J.McLaughlin, J.Crew, Banana Republic and even the occasional bohemian-style piece from Johnny Was. Lilly Pulitzer items go fast, she says.

“Our customers know fashion,” she says. “Almost all of our stock comes from regular consignors who bring things in season after season. These are women who love shopping and keeping up with the latest fashions. They get bored with what’s in their closet and want a change.”

If an item is at the store for 45 days, the price is reduced. Those Chanel ballet flats will be $149 on Nov. 10, for example.

“There’s a really cute pair of black Tory Burch moccasins, size 9, that are now $125,” Snayd says. “If they’re still here on Nov. 2, they’ll go down to $94.”

She’s 69 now, but plans to keep on working “as long as it stays fun,” and lots of the fun comes from her customers.

Many of her consignors grew up wearing clothes from the earliest days of Red Balloon.

They often tell her shopping at Red Balloon was the only way they could afford brand-name fashion when they were young.

Often, the stories touch Snayd’s heart or bring a chuckle.

Once, a consignor brought in some of her husband’s clothes. An employee found a large amount of cash in the breast pocket of one of the coats.

The money was returned, of course. Still, Snayd calls this the “greatest discovery at Red Balloon.”

Another time, a young woman, who was pregnant, put a crib on hold while she tried to scrape together enough money to buy it.

The following day, an older couple came in and expressed interest in the crib. When they were told about the mom-to-be who put it on hold, they paid for the crib and asked Red Balloon to call the young woman and tell her the crib was hers.

The young woman never met her benefactors, but, as Snayd states, this is “a beautiful story of generosity” — the kind of thing that happens when business owners have longtime relationships with shoppers.

“That’s part of our appeal,” Snayd says. “We give special attention to our customers.”

Established in 1977 by Pat Snayd, Red Balloon is a family owned, community oriented consignment business. With four decades of experience and two locations serving Palm Beach County, Florida, Red Balloon Consignment is an industry leader in South Florida.

STAFFCHRISTMAS2015 As locations have expanded and business has grown, so have the merchandise selections, quality and departments. The flagship store in West Palm Beach is a premier children’s consignment location in South Florida. The West Palm Beach location also features an amazing mix of high end designer labels and hot trend fashions and accessories for ladies and men. Don’t forget the newest department… Home Décor and Furnishings. This department has quickly become one of the most popular departments with hundreds of items coming in and selling weekly.

Opening in 2009, Red Balloon of Wellington continues to provide a top quality consignment experience to western Palm Beach County shoppers and consignors. Red Balloon of Wellington carries on the tradition of an exceptional mix of ladies and men’s designer and trendy labels and styles. With 40 years of experience, Red Balloon has industry-leading expertise in resale knowledge, variety, great prices, quick turnover and is a resale partner you can trust.

Red Balloon Consignment Shops focus on providing friendly, knowledgeable customer service and a unique mix of the most desirable top quality fashions and accessories for the whole family. Additionally, home furnishings are available at amazing prices while providing consignors with the best profit margins possible. It’s a delicate balance only a trusted expert in the field of consignment and resale can offer.

Red Balloon Consignment…Your Community Resale Expert!