Secret is out, Up Scale Consignment Shop is open

Ruth Mowen, left, gets help at Up Scale Consignment Shop from Sharyan Zurita and Pat Shew.

The path to a new store in Greencastle was really a trail of intrigue.

Ruth Mowen became a statistic after working for a Rockville, Md. company for 25 years. Last March the boss told her, "You are a valued employee and we love you dearly, but July 15 is your last day."

Though 67 years old, Mowen was far from ready to retire, so she began exploring the possibilities. She wasn't interested in job opportunities in other states, and preferred something near her hometown. But the search was all a secret. She finally settled on the idea of a consignment shop, but needed more information. Friend Greta Smith's daughter Ami Flannery had recently opened such a store in Mercersburg, so Mowen and her sister Pat Shew went to investigate. They didn't tell Flannery their real motive. On the way home, they saw a sign that Formal Expressions on South Antrim Way was going out of business, so Mowen contacted the owner to purchase the fixtures. She also ended up with over 200 formal dresses and 74 wedding gowns. However, the gowns have been sent on to another outlet.

"She made the decision to give it a try," said Shew. "We looked from Greencastle to Zullinger for a place to rent."

One recommended spot was 103 S. Carlisle St., actually situated on West Franklin Street, behind Farmer's Wife and Curves. After all the papers were signed, Mowen told her kids, Nick and Brian Mowen.

"They looked at me dumbstruck."

The sisters had visited five consignment shops in the area to determine the best business model to follow. Since Mowen was a novice at establishing a business, she sought help from the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, and found the assistance invaluable. When she was registering a fictitious name with the Pennsylvania Department of State, the computer screen required that name. Mowen thought, "Ruth's Folly" wouldn't fly, so she typed in "Up Scale Consignment Shop".

Since then, she has been busy getting the space ready, and through word of mouth people began bringing in clothing, jewelry and household items. The doors opened Saturday, Oct. 1. All of her help to date has been volunteer, for which Mowen is immensely grateful. Shew agreed to be the financial advisor, based on her career background. Daughter-in-law Carol Mowen gave practical guidance, and granddaughter Samantha, 11, dressed half the mannequins. Her siblings Alexandra, 15, and Spencer, 11, as well as friends and relatives, came in often to help with set-up. The Mowen clan has accepted that this is what the matriarch of the family is going to do and extended their support, including the other grandsons, Peter, 21, and Andrew, 19.

Up Scale Consignment Shop is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 717-593-9777.