By Janee Law
There is a comforting and exciting atmosphere at Helga’s Choice Consignment in Northport Village. Inside the nearly 1,000-square-foot shop, there’s a sign that states, “Life’s Too Short To Wear Boring Clothes.” Written in pink lettering, the blue sign is small but speaks volumes to the eclectic vibe the store offers.
“It really is cozy and fun, and we really try to keep it entertaining,” owner Helga Bagatais, 55, of Northport, said. “It’s easier to walk in here and have a nice time.”
Helga’s Choice Consignment sells gently-used, designer clothes, shoes, accessories, artwork, books, and unique home goods for women and men.
The store offers several types of pre-owned items that are vintage, new and modern, Bagatais said, calling the pieces eclectic and one of a kind.
Bagatais said she receives items for her store from anyone, with people coming from Bay Shore, the Hamptons and Queens. She said she has around 2,100 people who regularly drop off their items.
The busiest time of the year for intake are the months of September and May, when the season changes, Bagatais said. She added that she expects a busy September, typically receiving between 50-100 pieces a day.
“It’s crunch time because everyone goes through their clothes at the same time and then they all come running because they all want it out of their house,” Bagatais said.
Offering sizes from X-small to XX-large, Helga’s sells many brands including Free People, Coldwater Creek, and Vineyard Vines. Bagatais said clothing prices range from $10-$120.
If items don’t sell in two months, Bagatais said they donate the pieces to Career Couture and the Northport VA Hospital.
“It’s just a positive thing all around,” she said. “We get to sell nice brands at reasonable prices, the owner of the article gets some money and we get enough money to stay open and whatever doesn’t sell gets donated. It’s a win-win all around.”
The store opened its 139 Main St. location in Northport Village in July 2014.
Bagatais’ focus on selling pre-owned items came from her enjoyment of the hunt to find new treasures.
“Everybody has so much, especially in an affluent area like this, and it’s a shame not to reuse something and throw it away,” Bagatais said. “I always get excited when cool things come in.”
The store also helps out other local businesses, having recently sought out beer signs from customers at the request of the owner of Brew Cheese.
“He came in and asked if we have beer signs and I said, ‘No, but I can get you some.’ So, I made a little sign and asked people if they had beer signs and they just came pouring in,” Bagatais said. “Now, in his shop, he has all of this decor of beer signs. That’s what makes it fun and that’s what makes it a community effort.”
Bagatais said she loves the interactions she has with the patrons of Northport Village.
“I feel connected with my community, I know people’s names, they know me and I know their kids,” she said. “It’s nice to be part of a small town community.”