GTPulse: Ebb Tide Resale Shop – Going With The Flow For 29 Years
Right off of a shore of the Boardman Lake lies Ebb Tide Resale. This year Ebb Tide and I will both turn 29. For me, it marks the last year of my 20s. For Ebb Tide, it marks another year as Traverse City’s oldest resale shop.
“It’s been here since November 1992, still in this spot right here. We are now, and have been for a while, the oldest resale shop in Traverse City.”
Diane Eagle has been working at Ebb Tide since 1997 but it was her mother who opened up shop. “Her initials are EBB, Edith Blanche Brown,” she said. The business she had been working for packed up and moved to Chicago in 1992. Edith’s life was already firmly planted in Northern Michigan and she had no intention of leaving. She began Ebb Tide as a way to keep working.
“She was antsy to do something so she opened this resale shop right here. She just wanted to do something different and do something for herself. She had always worked for somebody else and thought it would be a great idea.”
Diane took over a little while after moving home to Michigan. After spending some time in warmer places, namely Texas and Hawaii, she came back here in 1997. When she moved back she had four kids all under two and a half years old. She was hired by her mom to work with her at the shop.
“She retired in 2008 and sold it to me. All she had to do was hand over the keys. Oh wait, I already have my own!” she laughed.
People don’t usually come into Ebb Tide looking for something specific. The large consignment shop located inside of Logan’s Landing shopping center has no shortage of clothing, household items, and other trinkets. Diane credits some of the store’s success to having an eclectic mix of everything.
“I think part of the thing is, is the diversity of what I have. I have men’s, women’s, household, shoes, kids, purses, I do Avon. I think that’s part of the attraction. I get new stuff in every day. I sit here,” she motioned towards her desk behind the counter, “Every day, all day, and check stuff in.”
Diane starts her day at work a bit before the store’s open time of 10 a.m. After turning on all the lights, she walks through the store and gives all the displays and racks a once over. She straightens up and puts clothing back on their hangers before wheeling the discount racks into the hallway outside of the store. The slashed prices often entice customers to come in and look around more.
“In the summertime, I open up the outside door and put stuff out on the sidewalk. If I get something really nice I’ll put it up on Facebook Marketplace. Sometimes I’ll put a $3 item on there too and it gets people into the store. If anything has been here for three months I sell it for half off and that keeps things moving.”
Since owning the shop she has had over 8,400 different consigners sell their items at Ebb Tide. Another facet of the shop’s success is based on what items she decides to sell. People will drop off their hopeful consignment items, but items won’t go out onto the floor until Diane examines each one and deems it fit for sale.
“I like to have control of the quality that I take in and the pricing. I like to take in really good stuff and I like to keep the prices low. If it’s good I tag it, and I have two part-time people that iron it, clean it, do whatever they need to do and then get it out onto the floor. It’s a well-oiled machine. People come back every week just to see what new stuff we have.”
Diane has worked multiple jobs throughout most of her life, all while raising four kids. She looks forward to the day when she will eventually turn the store over to someone else, just like her mother did 13 years ago.
“I still tell my kids I still don’t know what I wanna be when I grow up,” she said with a laugh. “But I want to travel. And I think I can go anywhere and do anything!”
A blue dress with splashy neon flowers hanging in the window is what drew me into Ebb Tide. I had visions of wearing it in some Hawaii honeymoon from another life. I think that’s why it’s such an easy shop to fall in love with – you can get lost in it like a daydream. A trip to Ebb Tide Resale Shop never ends empty-handed.
“It’s amazing how many people say they’ve never been here. Then they come in and they love it and say it’s their favorite place. I have to say I’m blessed.”
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