Style Encore near Gahanna reopens under new ownership

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
Lila Kasten, a sales associate and personal stylist, sorts through clothing at the recently reopened Style Encore, 4904 Morse Road, just north of Gahanna.

Westerville resident Elisa Rafol is offering a boutique shopping experience in the recently reopened Style Encore, 4904 Morse Road.

Designed by women for women, Style Encore is part of a national resale chain that specializes in clothing and accessories.

Rafol is the new owner for the Gahanna location that reopened July 30, after the former owner closed it late last year.

"The concept remains the same," Rafol said. "It's a fresh team and inventory. I think some customers will be pleasantly surprised with the design and merchandising of the store, focusing on a boutique environment rather than retail."

Rafol, a 2007 graduate of the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, said two to five staff members will welcome customers at the 3,000-square-foot store at New Albany Square in north Columbus, just outside Gahanna's city limits.

Rafol said she grew up in a small town called New Riegel near Tiffin, and her background is in retail, having worked a number of years and in several locations for Amazon.

She said being customer-focused in the local community is rewarding.

"I grew up with, whether making a college or Amazon income, I subscribe to the resale way of shopping for the environment and being budget-conscious," Rafol said. "It's circulating business in the community."

When shopping at Style Encore, she said, customers won't feel as though they're in a resale shop.

"Sure, all the merchandise is different, but the store has a relaxed, fresh feel that you won't find in any other secondhand retailer," Rafol said. "Plus we've organized our new Style Encore by size and color, so it's easy to come in and find great deals."

Customers will see a selection of trending styles in casual and business attire from such leading brands as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Chico's, Coach, Gap, Talbots, Lululemon and Louis Vuitton.

Rafol said the business has a team of interns who bring their skills with social media and fashion retail.

"We have free styling, where customers say what they like and don't like and we set up a dressing room just for them," she said. "It's like a private shopping experience for them. We have girls who are really good and take pride in helping customers upgrade their closets."

Lila Kasten, an Ohio State senior business major minoring in fashion retail, is the store's personal stylist, social-media coordinator and sales associate.

"We're loving getting to know new and returning customers," she said. "We've been hearing they're happy the store is open. We love our customers' passion about fashion and sustainability."

The Cleveland native said she works on store displays and makes sure clothes that are purchased are in good condition.

Unlike typical consignment stores, Rafol said, consumers could sell their gently used items all day every day and receive cash on the spot. No appointment is needed to sell items at the location, she said.

Kasten said the goal is to offer an online store in September, with customers using PayPal so they can shop from the comforts of their own homes.

"We want to make sure they have a good experience," she said.

Rafol said her team takes the sanitation process seriously, and they're working to meet the customer's comfort level during the pandemic.

"Women like to have trendy, fashionable pieces in their closet for every occasion, so our goal is to make Style Encore the preferred store for fashionistas, bargain hunters and those who are recycling-conscious," she said. "Style Encore provides women the resource to sell items they no longer wear, get paid cash on the spot and then turn around and purchase new items at a tremendous value -- up to 90% off regular retail prices."

The business is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Style Encore is franchised by Minnesota-based Winmark Corp., which also franchises Music Go Round, Once Upon a Child, Plato's Closet and Play It Again Sports.

For more information, go to style-encore.com/locations/gahanna-oh or call 614-289-3009.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

Style Encore, 4904 Morse Road, just north of Gahanna, is part of a national resale chain that specializes in clothing and accessories designed by women for women.