Co-owners Seth and Jordan Prater opened their first Plato’s Closet franchise in Jonesboro near Arkansas State University in 2012. Now, the couple is hoping to have the same collegiate clientele success in the City of Colleges.
Jordan was introduced to Plato’s Closet as an employee where she worked while attending the University of Arkansas for chemical engineering.
She worked as a chemical engineer for several years before the franchisees of the Rogers and Fort Smith Plato’s Closet locations suggested she open her own Plato’s Closet franchise in Jonesboro.
The Praters said they’ve always had an eye on Conway with family and friends who live in the area. “It’s always been visible that Conway is a growing town,” Jordan said.
Plato’s Closet buys and sells popular brands for teens and young adults, Jordan said, but she has many customers in Jonesboro who shop for purses and shoes who don’t fit that demographic.
Plato’s Closet at 500 Amity Road, Suite 3, will open tomorrow at 10 a.m. for an “open to buy period” lasting six to eight months.
The store will strictly be buying merchandise, Jordan said, and won’t be able to sell during this time.
“The franchise believes it’s hard to keep inventory without establishing a good stock,” she said.
Plato’s Closet pays customers cash for their items at 30-40 percent of what the item will be sold for in the store, Jordan said. Items are then sold for 50-70 percent off the original retail price customers often find at department stores and malls.
A corporate brand computer system prices items by rating them based on style, brand, condition and the store’s current stock levels.
Gently-used clothes, shoes and accessories for young men and women from all seasons are accepted year-round, Jordan said, but the store is particularly looking for a diverse assortment of “hot teen brands.”
Buckle is the store’s No. 1 brand, she said, but American Eagle and Forever 21 are also popular.
“It’s not always about the brand,” Jordan said, “but the trendy styles.”
Plato’s Closet does not accept formal wear, children’s sizes or items that are “too dated,” Jordan said.
The Plato’s Closet website says, “We focus on the latest styles at no more than 12 to 18 months old, which in turn offers our customers a wide variety of items at greatly reduced prices without compromising style or trend.”
Jordan said Plato’s Closet employees are extensively trained on how to determine what gently used clothes and accessories to buy for the store.
Brands put dates on tags and labels, Jordan explained, that tells when the item appeared in stores. Brands also change labels every six months to a year, she said.
The customer base and concept of Plato’s Closet is similar to Hut no. 8 on Skyline Drive, but Jordan says she believes the Conway market can support both stores.
“We are confident in the corporate training and success from our store in Jonesboro,” she said.
The Praters also invest in TV and radio advertising because getting the word out is a huge advantage, they say.
“Resale is really in right now,” Jordan said, “and we’re glad we can provide nice clothes and great brands at less than retail prices.”