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Peterborough

Rebecca’s Consignment closing  after 10 years of doing business

Owner attributes poor sales to slow movement in the housing market

  • George Sterling gives a thumb’s up as he checks on merchandise still available at Rebecca’s Consignments in Peterborough. The business will be closing, Sterling said, as soon as all the inventory is sold.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • George Sterling, Rebecca's Consignments, Peterborough<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • George Sterling, Rebecca's Consignments, Peterborough<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • George Sterling, Rebecca's Consignments, Peterborough<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — Rebecca’s Consignments, which owner George Sterling says was the first consignment shop in town when it opened 10 years ago, will be closing its doors this month, as soon as the remaining inventory is sold.

“We decided last year in May that if the economy hadn’t turned around in a year, we’d close down,” said Sterling, who started the business with his wife, Loretta, in the Concord Street building that also houses his printing and mailing firm, Sterling Business Corp.

Sterling said Tuesday that the consignment business is largely driven by trends in home sales.

“When someone moves out of a home, they look over their furniture, and some of those things become our inventory,” he said. “When someone moves into the home, they may need new pieces and will come to us. But the housing market’s been poor since 2008 and that affects us.”

Sterling said there is no one named Rebecca involved with the business. It’s a common name on his wife’s side of the family, he said, and seemed to fit when the store was opened in 2004. At that time, there were no other consignment stores within a 15 mile radius, Sterling said, but a number of them have sprung up in recent years.

He said competition wasn’t a factor in the decision to close.

“It’s a reflection of the economy too,” Sterling said of the number of new shops. “People are looking for a way to make some money. Actually, the more shops there are, the more traffic is generated, but it hasn’t changed our sales.”

Sterling said demographics also played a role in his decision.

“Consignment shops are founded on having young families in the community,” he said. “New Hampshire is aging at a very rapid rate. We don’t have the manufacturing and high-tech and quality office jobs that we used to have in the area, which attracted young families to come here. The real consumers are the younger folks and families with kids. We need more of them. If we had more manufacturing jobs, that would solve a lot of retail problems as well as get a lot more kids in the schools.”

Sterling said everything at Rebecca’s is marked down 10 to 50 percent.

“In the first week, we sold about 30 percent of the inventory,” he said. “There are a lot of good buys.”

Sterling Business Corp., which does all sorts of printing and mailing work — “all the traditional stuff,” Sterling said — will remain open. Sterling is hoping to rent the approximately 4,000 square feet of space that has been used for the consignment business.

“It’s a great location,” he said. “There are 12,000 cars or more that go by each day.”

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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