End of the road for Cape Elizabeth consignment shop

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CAPE ELIZABETH — After more than 30 years of selling clothing and accessories, the town’s only consignment shop will shut next month. 

Janice Stockson became sole proprietor of Shore Things in 2005. The shop – previously Forget Me Nots – is at 1232 Shore Road. 

Stockson worked for the shop’s previous owner, Amy Garen, for three years, learning the ins and outs of what it took to own and run a business. 

“It’s hard work,” Stockson said in a Nov. 17 interview. “Nobody knows unless they’ve done it.”

Between long hours, tedious bookkeeping, and even torn rotator cuffs, Stockson said the business has been both mentally and physically exhausting.

“It takes a toll, but I love it,” she said. “I’ve gotten more hugs out of this business than anything.”

Owning the shop not only allowed her the luxury of building her own unique wardrobe, it also gave her the chance to meet and forge lasting friendships with clients and customers – some of whom strolled through the shop last week to browse and visit with Stockson. Many were surprised to learn the business was closing. 

One shopper in particular, Melissa Knowles, was brought to tears. 

“Melissa is one of the younger girls that comes in, that I am a little bit of a mother hen to,” Stockson said. “It kind of happens in the business, you get attached to certain people.”

After moving away from her family – who live in Kansas City, Missouri – Knowles began consigning with Stockson and soon began visiting the shop at least once a week to shop and chat. 

“Janice gets me,” she said. “She’s been kind of like a surrogate mom to me.”

Another shopper, Jeanne Ball, marveled at Stockson’s knack for knowing her customers’ styles and for her ability to always tell it like it is. 

“She’s very honest,” Ball said. “She talked me out of something yesterday that she didn’t think would be right for my daughter.”

“Some of them think I’m a fashion guru and I’m not,” Stockson said with a laugh. “It’s just an opinion, but people value an honest opinion. I’m not going to talk someone into buying something just because it’s a sale.”

Getting to know customers like Knowles and Ball, while doubling as their personal shopper, has become Stockson’s favorite part of owning the business. 

“What goes on in Shore Things stays in Shore Things. It’s kind of like a therapy session,” she said. “Whether they buy or not, doesn’t concern me.” 

But Stockson has decided it’s time to focus her attention on her growing family.

“We move on. I want to be with my husband,” she said. “I have two wonderful grandchildren. I want to be able to do more with them.”

Stockson said she has tried for more than a year to find someone who would take over the business. With no luck, she decided last month to close.

If someone walks in in the next two weeks and asks to take the reins, Stockson said she would be thrilled. But if not, Shore Things will officially close Dec. 23. 

“I have to close by the end of the year,” she said. “You can’t wait until the ninth hour, but I’m always hopeful.”

Stockson is asking that all consigners come by Dec. 15 to claim their clothes and proceeds. She has decided to donate any remaining merchandise to The Root Cellar in Portland. 

Stockson said she is grateful to her loyal consigners and customers who’ve stayed “tried and true” to her and Shore Things over the past 15 years. 

“The business is still very exciting to me. I personally don’t know where I’m going to shop or consign now,” she added. “I wish everybody well. I’m having a hard time … but I’m upbeat about it all. I have to be.” 

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

After owning Shore Things for 12 years, Janice Stockson will close the Cape Elizabeth consignment shop on Dec. 23.