Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Field Trip: Esther's Treasures

4722 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

Esther's Treasures is tucked along a strip of take-out joints and convenience shops along 14th Street. After finding metered parking, you have to ring the bell to be let in. But don't be shy--Esther is a welcoming proprietor.

If you're looking for clothing, you might be thrown off at first glance. But keep looking. Nearly everything from floor to ceiling is for sale. Artwork, antique furniture, jewelry, knick-knacks--it's all here. And scattered among the retail menagerie are the racks of clothes and accessories that are sure to please.

Some vintage items, like heavy coats or long dresses, will almost always be pricey. But Esther has some deals in between to keep shoppers at all price points happy. I picked up a pristine Dior tie for fewer than five dollars (it's tucked on the left side of the tie rack, complete with Dior logos), and I spied an authentic Coach bag priced at $60.

The basement is open too, although there's not much down there yet. You'll see some small signs that say, "Nothing for sale here," on some pieces of furniture. But the space has potential, either to house many racks of clothes, or to play host to a general smattering of items. There are some great shoes in the basement. I even found shoes for sale just sitting on the side of the staircase.

Esther welcomes consignment and said that doing so by appointment is essential to maintain the atmosphere--relaxed and fun, with toe-tapping music--in the store. She said that new, on-the-spot consigners take the most time. Setting an appointment ensures a smooth meeting and builds a good relationship between the store and the consigner. But while she encourages consignment, it's clear that Esther loves the hunt and is also actively looking for new additions to her inventory. If you're searching for something specific to add to your own collection, it may be worth giving Esther a call to see what she has in stock.

She does jazz by day and treasures by night, and we visited Esther's shop just in time to learn about the store's second anniversary sale this weekend. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on December 19 and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 20, you'll receive 40 percent off purchases over $100. In addition, everything in the store is 25% off through the end of December. And for the anniversary celebration, Esther says she'll even have wine for customers.


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