Manager brings fashion sense to Rave Reviews consignment shop


January 17, 2001|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Darting from rack to rack at Rave Reviews - a consignment shop run by Howard County General Hospital's Volunteer Auxiliary - store manager Christa Pence is a whirlwind of activity. Using fashion sense she gained from 20 years in the industry as a model and a buyer, Pence has a knack for matching customers with clothes that suit them and make them feel good.

Rave Reviews, in Hickory Ridge Village Center on Freetown Road, has been open for six years. The shop carries casual, professional and special-event clothing and accessories for women sizes 2 to 2X. The business brings in almost $35,000 a year to benefit the hospital.

"We are not a thrift shop," said Joan Henry, president of the Hospital Auxiliary. "We are an upscale consignment shop. There is no similarity between us and a thrift shop."

The store accepts consignments by appointment only. All clothing must be in style, with no stains or missing buttons. Many items on the racks have never been worn and have their original price tags attached - such as a rust-colored, wool suit with a jacket and skirt. The suit retails for about $220. The Rave Reviews price is $78.

"People think that the only reason to shop in a consignment shop is [to save] money. That's not true," said Pence. "It's about selection. We have things in here that nobody else has."

Pence said the store benefits from consignors who shop around the world. Customers who frequent the store come from as far as the Eastern Shore, Chevy Chase and Westminster, as well as Columbia.

Sandra Furey is one of 20 volunteers who works in the store. She buys most of her clothes at Rave Reviews because she likes the variety and quality of the clothing, but the best reason to shop there, she said, is Christa Pence.

"She's honest. If an outfit doesn't work and it looks terrible, some people would tell you `That looks good' to make the money. Not Christa," Furey said.

Hillery Scavo of Hobbit's Glen, said 99 percent of her wardrobe comes from Rave Reviews. She said she usually hates shopping and comes to Pence for guidance.

"I like the fact that Christa knows ... what will look good on me," she said.

Frequently, Pence will call customers when stock comes in that she thinks will suit them. Pence said that type of personal service is something you won't find in most retail establishments. "You've got to know your clientele," Pence said.

Rave Reviews is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The shop is closed Sundays and Mondays.

Information: 410-531-6946.

Science Fair winners

Hilary Finucane took top honors in Wilde Lake Middle School's Science Fair. An eighth-grader, Hilary examined a math puzzle in her project, "Fractals: Fragmented, Fractured Figures of Fractional Dimensions," to win in the mathematics category.

The pupils' projects were evaluated on background research, development of a hypothesis, accuracy in using science and creativity of topic. Students were required to illustrate their data collection using charts or graphs. An interview with the judges and the student's oral presentation were counted toward the overall score.

Congratulations to those selected as winners in their respective categories - in animal biology, Jun Xu, Deborah Girma and Meredith Davey; in behavioral/social science, Lani Frerichs, Sarah Semmel and Kevin Tomlinson; in microbiology, Jasmin Chung and Sabrina Russo; in plant biology, Bradley Eisenberg, Samantha Bier, Ilana Burger and Colin Riley; in chemistry, Nicci Wishnies, Trevor Bauley, Jeremy Seo, Sara Eisenberg and Rachel Frederick.

For Earth and space sciences, winners were Robert Grimm and Eddie Bach. In engineering and technology, winners were Sam Howard, David Wysor, Andrew Chandler and Brianna Frost; for environmental science, Aysha Jawed. Winners in physics were Yakir Reshef, Larry Komrower, Ryan Zanski, Anne Mathew and Jason Shafer.

Overall Awards went to Hilary Finucane (first place), Lani Frerichs (second place) and Bradley Eisenberg (third place).

"First Arts 2001"

Howard Community College will sponsor a showcase of the arts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. At 7:30 p.m., a fund-raising performance, "A Journey Through the Arts," will feature music, dance and theater presented by the faculty and friends of HCC to benefit the Arts and Humanities Division.

The day will begin with workshops, performances and demonstrations for children and adults. Children are invited to participate in activities from mural painting to mask making.

Performers will include the HCC Jazz Ensemble, poet Lyubomir Nikolov and Kinetics Dance Student Company.

Daytime events are free.

Tickets for evening performance are $50 for orchestra seats and $40 for mezzanine seats and include a champagne and dessert reception.

Information or tickets: 410-772-4828.

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