Les Passees Stock Exchange 2020 begins September 1st.
But it’s going to be different.
This is the annual event, which runs about two months, where people bring items to be consigned for the public to buy. For 33 years, customers visited a location where they browsed among the items and purchased whatever they wanted.
Not this year.
This year, customers will do their shopping online. Just like they were buying something on Amazon. They’ll go to the website, search the various categories, look at the photos and descriptions, click on the consigned items they want, and then pay for them with their credit card.
The site will be open for buying beginning at midnight on September 1st.
“Well, it’s like everything,” says Les Passees president Cindi Ledger. “We’re mainly an organization of older ladies. We’re called ‘Les Passees,’ not ‘Les Ingenues.’”
They’re concerned about the health and safety of their volunteers. And, she says, “We have to consider we have long-term consigners who have been consigning with us for more than 20 years. We can’t ask people to come in if they have heath issues.”
They sent out a survey to members last June to get feedback on this year’s Stock Exchange. “Our mission is to help children and families. We can’t do that without funds. We made the decision not to have the on sight shopping.”
Kids on the Block and the Harwood Center are the two main beneficiaries of Les Passees. “They still have needs. They don’t quit rolling just because of COVID.”
They got tremendous response from members willing to volunteer. “Not only did we poll our members about whether or not they would want to come in and work under what circumstances, but we called our top 100 consigners and asked if they’d be interested in selling online and bring their stuff in. They overwhelmingly said yes.”
Belz Enterprises let them use the same building at 888 South White Station Road that they used last year to house the consigned items.
Each consigner will be given a time to bring their items to the building between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. “We limited the number of items you can bring in one appointment to 25 in order to reduce face time. Everybody is wearing a mask.”
Lucite barriers are set up at the consigning areas, Ledger says. “We take their temperature when they come in. We make them sign something for contact tracing with their phone numbers. We ask them a series of safety questions they have to answer in order to come in and consign.”
Volunteers will measure the items, take front and side photographs, and catalogue them. “Like a warehouse. So we can easily pull them.”
They will post the items and descriptions here as soon as they get them, Ledger says. Those who want to buy the item will just click on a button and pay for the item with their credit card. “You put it in your shopping cart and pay like you would at Amazon. Pay for it online. It goes into our system as ‘sold’ and it comes off immediately.”
Buying something depends on “how fast you are,” Ledger says. “You can put it in your cart, but until you pay for it, anyone can buy it.”
Customers will be notified when the item will be ready for pickup. They will be a given a confirmation number. They then will pick up their items between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at the White Station address. “They’ll call us when they get there. We’ve got a special phone number.”
Parking spaces are numbered, so when customers arrive, a volunteer or one of the “red shirts” – those who carry the bigger items like furniture – will bring their purchase to their vehicle.
This year, Les Passees only will be selling items $25 or above, Ledger says. They won’t be taking some things, including draperies “because of the health risk and because we don’t have a way to photograph that where it doesn’t look unattractive.” They also will not be selling jewelry this year. “We really don’t think we can sell that without people coming in and trying it on.”
People can consign items September 1st through October 16th. Stock Exchange is slated to wrap up around the end of October.
Ledger expects “glitches” and things are subject to change, but, so far, they’re pleased with how things are going. “We may want to continue with consigning by appointment in the future, especially the larger consigners with furniture. It has really worked well. So, we’re learning things we’ve never learned before.”
For more information on Stock Exchange, go to the Les Passees website. “There will be a link they can click that will send them to the Stock Exchange address and also tell them how to consign.”