Morgan Frisch/Recorder staff
From left, sisters Samantha Clarke and Kristie McGaffin are pictured Wednesday. They are preparing for the 13th bi-annual Second Chance Kids Sale LLC at the Riverfront Center.

By MORGAN FRISCH

Recorder News Staff

In 2010, when the price of gas was higher, two sisters couldn’t justify driving to garage sales when they could never find the good quality kids items they were searching for.

Kristie McGaffin and Samantha Clarke, who were then stay-at-home moms, decided to find a solution for families searching for quality kids items at discounted prices. Now, their business, Second Chance Kids Sale LLC, is holding its 13th bi-annual consignment event starting Thursday at the Riverfront Center.

The spring/summer sale is located on the lower level of the building in the former gymnastics room. There is everything from maternity, infant, toddler and teen clothes, to toys, shoes, games and bedding. The ladies estimate approximately 12,000 items will be for sale during the three day event.

McGaffin said in the first year, there were 21 consignors and approximately 150 shoppers. This number has grown to more than 100 consignors selling items this year.

Over the life of the event, McGaffin and Clarke estimated 500 different families have sold through consignment. During this sale, they expect to see between 600 and 700 shoppers.

Clarke said the event is a two-way process. Families can consign items they don’t use anymore and earn money. McGaffin mentioned that having a busy life makes it difficult to have time for a garage sale. The event is also helpful for people who wish to buy items at discounted prices.

All items are inspected before being placed out for the sale. Although they aren’t brand specific, clothing is required to be gently used. Toys are also checked to make sure no recalled items are out on the floor. Prices start at $2.

McGaffin and Clarke are also authorized to retail for Melissa & Doug, who McGaffin said is a strong believer in small businesses. They are able to sell their new toys, which are “high quality” at 25 percent less than the retail price.

Clarke said it’s a perfect opportunity for someone to purchase a gift. Melissa & Doug carry items for infants, have kids toys and family games. Toys are the largest seller in the Second Chance Kids Sale.

“We often hear, ‘Thank you so much, you have stocked my child’s closet for the season,’” Clarke said.

The event is helpful for people on a budget, Clarke said, when they are able to spend $100 instead of $500 on kids clothing that season.

Second Chance Kids Sale has a mailing list, website and Facebook page. Consignors can register to sell their items. Each person can login into secondchancekidssale.com and view their own inventory. They have a specific consignor number and print tags to be place on their items. The seller can check the website during the sale to see how many of their items have been sold.

A total of 70 percent of the sale price goes to the consignor and the remaining 30 percent goes to Second Chance. McGaffin said people pay $8 to be a consignor each event and the charge will come out of the check they receive at the end of the sale. Each consignor chooses how to price their items, but Clarke said they’re told to “think like a shopper.”

“What would you pay for this,” Clarke said they tell consignors. She also reminds them not to “price with their hearts.”

McGaffin and Clarke’s mother came up with the name “Second Chance.” The sisters mentioned how mothers love their kids, love the items on their kids and want to give those things they loved a second chance.

McGaffin said it made her feel better when her daughter’s first bed set was going to be used in a new home.

“They[ consignors] said it makes them less sad when you step back and realize those items are going to be instantly loved by the end of this week,” Clarke said.

She also said it’s a chance to get rid of items sitting around the house not being used before they get thrown out.

Consignors have the option of donating their unsold items after the sale. In the past, the Greater Amsterdam High School National Honor Society students have volunteered their time to help prepare the items to be given to the non-profit organization.

McGaffin’s and Clarke’s husbands, family and friends have been very supportive and help in whatever way possible, they said.

Second Chance also seeks volunteers to help with the sale. Volunteers, as well as consignors, receive a pre-sale pass to shop the night before the opening day of the sale. Volunteers also get a $10 credit to shop.

Now that both women are working full-time, organizing the event can be challenging because it takes year-round maintenance. The central location has attracted consignors and buyers from Fulton, Schoharie, Saratoga and Albany counties.

“How do you stop offering this service to people,” McGaffin said.

They said hosting the sale has been a learning curve, but over the years it’s evolved. Every item is organized by type, size and gender.

“The sale is always on our mind,” Clarke said.

The goal is to keep finding new consignors so they can maintain the size of their sale. As kids grow older, regular sellers may no longer have items available. Clarke said they want to continue having a variety of different items and sizes for shoppers.

On Thursday, the sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many of the items left Saturday will be 50 percent off for the final day, per consignor request.

McGaffin mentioned a Facebook post from one of their shoppers who said Second Chance Kids Sale has kept her “single handedly clothed and entertained over the years.”

“It’s gratifying,” McGaffin said.