Dress to the 9's owner Deborah Haines cuts the ribbon on her new consignment shop on North State Street. From left are Newtown Borough Council President Tara Grunde-McLaughlin; Kyle Melander, district manager for Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick; Mayor Charles Swartz; Deborah Haines; Newtown Borough Councilor Bob Szwajkos; and Rose Wuenschel, representing State Senator Steve Santarsiero.

NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> Leaders of the Newtown Mercantile Group on September 26 joined borough leaders in welcoming “Dress to the 9’s Consignment Boutique” to North State Street.

Joining owner Deborah Haines in cutting the ribbon on the new retail store were Mayor Charles Swartz, borough councilors Tara Grunde-McLaughlin and Bob Szwajkos and Carol Richardson, president of the Newtown Mercantile Group. Also joining the group was Rose Wuenschel, representing State Senator Steve Santarsiero, and Kyle Melander, district manager for U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.

“I think everyone should come here,” said Richardson. “The display is perfection, the clothing and accessories are high quality and I can’t wait to come back and shop.”

“I hope she does well. It’s a wonderful addition to Newtown. And we really wish Debbie much success,” said Grunde-McLaughlin.

“I really like what she has done inside,” continued Grunde-McLaughlin. “She has created a very welcoming place to shop. It doesn’t feel like a traditional consignment store where you have to push through racks. She makes it feel like you’re walking into a boutique. She has thought about how she arranges things, how she curates it and how she puts ensembles together so it’s not just shelves of handbags and dresses. It makes it very pleasant to be in there.”

The new, beautifully-appointed upscale consignment store opened its doors in June next to the Grapevine Natural Grocery store.

Named after its numerical address on North State Street and its higher-end merchandise, the store is the creation of Newtown resident and Bucks County native Debbie Haines who rented the space in early March and was preparing to open the store when the pandemic suddenly took hold, closing businesses, workplaces and restaurants throughout the region.

The pandemic and the resulting shutdown forced her to delay her planned April opening until June 5, a time she used efficiently to collect consignments at home, clean clothing, price it for sale and prepare it for eventual sale at the store.

Operating under the slogan, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” the new boutique is open and stocked with both women’s and men’s gently-used clothing and accessories from teens on up.

“At Dress to the 9’s you will be shopping in a clean, pleasant atmosphere for upscale clothing in excellent condition,” said Haines, a native of Yardley and a Pennsbury graduate.

“A lot of the clothing is coming in with the original tags on them,” added Haines. “The shoes and handbags are worth the trip. They are barely used. I have a lot of shoes that were never worn coming in their own boxes.”

The store’s inventory also includes a wide selection of clothing (workout clothes to formal wear) and accessories from a myriad of fashion houses and stores, including Talbots, Anne Taylor, Old Navy, Gap, Louis Vuitton (handbags), Jimmy Choo (shoes), Dooney & Bourke, Lululemon, Michael Kors, St. John Collection, Babette Clothing, Reese Witherspoon's Draper James, among others.

Of course a nice selection of clothing and accessories deserves to be accentuated by a complimentary environment. So Haines has created a suitable setting to showcase her merchandise and to bring joy to all those who step through the front door.

“It’s a very unique and beautiful store,” said Haines. “This is unlike any other consignment store around. To me, most consignment stores look like thrift stores. I didn’t want it to look like that. I wanted it to be welcoming and inviting, comfortable and a really pleasant experience to shop in.”

Her longer term plans for the store include turning it into a social gathering place for the community where customers can sit and socialize.

Haines, a former music major at Bucks, has even brought a piano into the store with hopes of eventually having evening wine and cheese recitals by music majors and faculty from the BCCC. She’s also thinking about having yoga classes in the evening after store hours.

“I really want to bring the community together to socialize and enjoy themselves,” said Haines.

Of course, all those plans are on temporary hold until the pandemic runs its course and people again feel safe to gather and to socialize in public.

In the meantime, the store is open but customers are asked to wear masks, clean their hands with sanitizer when they come in and if they try on clothes to keep their masks on and not let their breath touch the clothing.

Limits are also being placed on the number of customers who can be in the store at one time and customers are asked to social distance when inside.

Haines is currently accepting consignments, which can be dropped off at the store Tuesday to Friday from 11 am to 5 pm. Consignments will not be accepted on Saturdays. If those hours don’t work, call to make an appointment.

“Instead of throwing it out or letting it hang there for 20 years, recycle it. Let somebody else wear it,” said Haines. “There is so much waste in the clothing industry that we need to find ways to use that clothing instead of wasting it and throwing it out.”

Haines said she’ll take anything from workout clothes to formal wear.

“I know a lot of women have gorgeous dresses in their closets that they bought for a wedding or a special occasion and wear them once and now they are sitting in the closet,” she said. “Because it was an expensive dress, they don’t want to throw it out or donate it. I wanted to give them an outlet to pass it on to somebody else and make some money from it.”

“Dress to the 9’s Consignment Boutique” is located at 9 North State Street, Newtown 18940. Store hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is closed on Sunday and Monday. For information, call 215.944.8907, visit dresstothe9sconsign.com or email deborah.hainespt@msn.com

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