Photo: Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media
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ORANGE — Outerwear of mink, coyote, raccoon, muskrat and squirrel fur is flying off the racks at a unique new clothing store that has opened next to Christmas Tree Shops and That! at 220 Indian River Road.
“Fur is selling well, it’s making a comeback,” said Renee Mizrahi, owner of Renee’s Resale Clothing Outlet. “Faux fur, animal fur is popular.”
Aside from coat, jacket, stole and muffs of fur, the store sells new, pre-owned and vintage clothing, shoes, handbags, belts, scarves and beaded purses. Some of the items are designer, some are not, but match up with Mizrahi’s definition of funky or unique.
It’s not a store of cluttered racks, like many such stores.
“My concept was to keep it as boutiquey and airy as possible,” Mizrahi said.
With 4,000 square feet, including about 1,000 square feet in backroom storage, she has kept it airy, with plenty of room for customers to maneuver.
In the store’s center is a comfortable couch area — a living room of sorts — where husbands, sons, or grandchildren can relax.
Mizrahi, a Fairfield resident, just moved the shop to town from Barnum Avenue in Stratford, where she had a loyal following for about two years. But her space there of 800 square feet was too small, and there wasn’t enough foot traffic, she said.
“Here there’s a nice flow,” she said of the Orange location. “I already have regulars.”
She and her family are longtime entrepreneurs, once owning the Century Diner in Stamford and the Westporter Diner in Norwalk.
But it was the laundromat business that she had with her sister in Stratford for 12 years that inspired her to open the clothing store. She said so many people would leave clothes at their “Spotless Laundromat” on Barnum Avenue, they talked about opening a consignment store.
When they left the laundromat business, she stilled had that entrepreneurial spirit and opened the clothing store. Mizrahi said she is not a high fashion dresser, but loves clothes and funky stuff.
As she showed a visitor around the store, Mizrahi ran her fingers across many beaded bags and marveled at their vintage looks. “Feel this,” she said.
The store sells skirts, blouses, jackets, sweaters, ponchos, dresses, shoes, boots and accessories.
On the racks recently were furs and old-fashioned muffs of Jeffrey cat, raccoon, coyote, beaver, squirrel, mink, rabbit and muskrat.
Recently the store had a cowhide collar jacket on the rack and an entire section of sought-after St. John knits, among them a long black skirt by the designer for $48.
“I’ve upped my bar, (in the new store), but you don’t need to feel everything is expensive,” she said.
Every item in the store is hand-picked by Mizrahi, who buys outright in the store on Monday and Tuesday, and consigns more expensive items. Customers are asked to call before coming in to show items they want to sell.
“I want clean, cute and current,” she says of the type of clothing she’s looking to buy. Funky is a favorite quality too, she said. Those interested in selling or consigning can call Mizrahi at 475-422-9977.