When Karlene Khor started an eclectic pop-up store on Main Street in Kalispell earlier this year, she had no idea it would open the door to some pretty interesting inventory.
Her shop, Seasons, is open four to six weeks at a time, four times a year to sell locally made furniture and an arrange of other home goods.
It now also offers a bevy of luxurious clothing that found its way to Kalispell from a now defunct 1918 department store in Williston, North Dakota.
Khor recently emailed me to share the story. This summer, a woman walked into Seasons and asked if the store took consignment items.
“I flippantly replied, ‘only to my friends,’” Khor said. “She responded she could be my friend and as she sauntered out the shop door she said she owned a department store. I thought to myself, ‘sure you do.’”
Several weeks later Khor, who was home sick in bed with bronchitis, got a text at 10 p.m. one night saying “we are outside the front door of your building.”
She couldn’t resist seeing what had been brought to her retail door-step, so she drove downtown and was greeted by two older sisters standing in front of Seasons, which is housed in Kalispell’s only Art Deco building, at 222 Main St.
For the next 45 minutes the women hauled in furs from fox jackets to full-length mink coats, wedding gowns, leather jackets, cashmere coats and all sorts of other upscale garments.
“They just hung them all over every piece of furniture and display in the shop,” Khor said. “It was an overwhelming sight.”
It turns out the sisters had tapped into the storage vault of the store they owned — Joseph’s Ready to Wear — a department store that had been founded in Williston a century ago. They had to close the store recently when their mother, the last general manager of Joseph’s, could no longer handle the job and moved into an assisted-living facility. Their mother had been a model and knew fashion inside and out.
Khor said her store already has established a niche for high-end brand such as Prada and Versace.
“But now, thanks to Joseph’s of Williston, we have an array of Made in America clothes,” Khor told me. “It’s amazing the quality of clothes our country used to produce. The fabrics vary from cottons to mohair to cashmere to silk and the styles are classic and chic — modern and vintage — but all new!”
Khor said she’d barely begun to organize the clothing when a man stopped in to asked whether Seasons takes consignments.
After a tentative nod, he hauled in an 1899 quarter-sawed solid oak architect/banker’s desk from the Union Stockyard in Texas.
“It is a Texas-size desk, as it is almost 5 feet tall,” she said. “It sits in one of our large display windows, complete with chair, lamp and a walrus skull with 24-inch ivory tusks … We checked with Montana Fish and Wildlife and the walrus can be sold, too.”
It’s looking like a bountiful fall for Khor’s quirky shop, and it just goes to show the kind of unusual wares that are out there when one ventures into the world of consignment merchandise.
Seasons is open Tuesdawwy through Friday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Satuday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.