It’s no secret that broke students often find themselves sitting on a pile of assets: their old clothing. Yet a problem for East Side students has been finding a formative establishment to sell those clothes or, if the situation calls for it, trade them. Well, there’s a new store called Prodigy that’s come to the rescue – selling/trading clothing and redefining vintage style.
Prodigy has been located at 3470 N. Oakland Ave. since December, 2005 and it couldn’t have come at a better time. “The concept was new to [Milwaukee’s] east side,” said Co-owner Carrie Noer, “but is real big on the west coast.” The store was born out of an identifiable concept: “I was like… what am I going to do? Where am I going to sell my clothes and buy cheap name brands?” she said. That is, high end brands for low prices. Some of the brands to be found in the store: Diesel, Puma, Seven for All Mankind, Paper Denim, Juicy Couture… the list goes on.
Although Prodigy is fashioned on a west coast model, its prices don’t necessarily reflect those of Hollywood. In fact, the last time I dropped off some unecessary threads I recognized a rare Adidas ski vest I’d seen online once. I wasn’t looking in the women’s section, but I’m sure there were some special finds there as well. Carrie knows her stuff, and she let me know – saying bluntly, “Fashion means so many things these days… it’s whatever you make it.”
A lofty concept indeed. Still, Prodigy is all about remaining grounded in the relationship it holds with its customers – keep them coming back, and leave them satisfied. “It’s all about keeping it affordable,” Noer said. “We buy from our customers… we give [them] revenue – up to 50% store credit… up to 25% cash on the spot. Unlike other consignment shops, people selling clothes don’t have to wait [for their items to sell] in order to get paid.”
Aside from that, customers may also leave Prodigy their unbought clothing to be donated to Salvation Army; that means people whom come in don’t need to leave with their boxed-up clothes. That doesn’t mean, however, Prodigy should be considered a means to simply donating old, unwearable items. According to Noer, people come in all the time with their old rags. Items like shirts without armpits, pit-stained tee’s, and crusty jeans need not apply.
Prodigy’s a great store and doesn’t come off too strong whether you’re trying to make a deal or simply browse their selection. It gives a 10% discount to UWM students (with presentation of their ID’s, of course). And if you’re coming in to sell clothing, don’t forget your receipt – store credit is only redeemable with documentation because the computer doesn’t keep track of past customers.
So, if you’re considering redefining your fashion for the upcoming Spring season – once it gets warm enough to rock short sleeves – check out Prodigy on Milwaukee’s East Side.