Island Stylin’

Nifty Thrifty Finds at Chapter 2 Boutique in Manahawkin

Stop By for the Grand Reopening
By SANDRA WEYANT | Sep 06, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

When one door closes, another one remains open. Chapter 2 Furniture & Thrift of Lanoka Harbor has shut its doors permanently after seven years of business, but the second branch of the store, Chapter 2 Thrift Boutique in Manahawkin, carries on. Co-owners Wendy Ehrnstrom and Kristina Skidmore want to assure both new and old customers that the Manahawkin location is here to stay and is offering the best assortment of secondhand clothing, shoes and accessories available in the area.

Ehrnstrom previously managed the Lanoka Harbor location, and opened the new store 2½ years ago. She and Skidmore, who have worked together since August 2015, purchased the business from the original owners and have devoted themselves to being style resources for the community by providing affordable and fashionable clothing for men and women.

Chapter 2 found its new home in a two-story house as unique as the merchandise inside. The lilac and deep purple-painted exterior stands out from nearby businesses and homes and adds to the charm of this one-of-a-kind shop.

“We are not like your average thrift store; we are more like a boutique. When people walk in, they often think it is a boutique,” Ehrnstrom said.

“We color coordinate our apparel and arrange it by size like other, regular retailers. It’s laid out in a way that would entice you to shop. We receive merchandise daily and have a little bit of everything for everyone – from young high school students to mature moms to older, retired men and women,” Skidmore added.

Skidmore has been working in retail for the last 10 years. Although she doesn’t have a background in fashion, it has become her life, and she enjoys merchandising the store. Currently, she is attending college to earn a degree in business and accounting.

Ehrnstrom’s background stems from floral design, so one of her favorite things to do involves merchandising, as well. “I like putting outfits together – pairing a shirt with pants, a belt and a necklace. Usually, I’ll start with one cool item and I will shop the store to see what goes with it, and it works for our customers. As soon as we put a display together, people start pulling it apart and wanting to buy it. Some people are like that. They need to see it on the mannequin or on a display before they realize what they can do with it,” Ehrnstrom said.

Ry-bandz Are Here! Chapter 2 is proud to announce its recent partnership with local headband company Ry-bandz, named after its founder Ryann. These cute and comfortable headbands will bring your style to the next level with fun prints (watermelon, starfish, leopard and more) and vibrant colors. Chapter 2 is also expecting a shipment of Southern Regional High School-themed headbands in the near future, so stay tuned. You can also browse the entire assortment of headbands on the brand’s website, rybandz.com.

Play Dress Up! Although Chapter 2 has yet to acquire actual Halloween costumes, the store is a hot spot for customers to find bits and pieces to create their own. Ehrnstrom and Skidmore also enjoy creating holiday displays throughout the year. “At Christmastime, we do save all of the ugly sweaters. Those are very popular, so we make sure to inform our customers that we have them,” Skidmore said.

Here Comes the Bride. Whether you’re walking down the aisle or going to a party, Chapter 2 has bridal gowns, dresses and formalwear for all occasions. “Our gown room is not on the main floor of the store, so sometimes people don’t realize we have it, but if someone is looking for something in particular, I always tell them to check here first, because you never know if we might have exactly what you’re looking for,” Ehrnstrom said.

What’s Old is New Again. You can’t turn back time, but you can bring back the best trends from your favorite era. Ehrnstrom and Skidmore have been saving apparel and accessories from all different decades to develop a vintage section in their store. “We’ve been saving clothing from the ’40s and ’50s. We have some hippie-ish gowns from the ’70s. We may even have some hats from the ’20s. It’s a range now,” Ehrnstrom said. So get ready to do the twist or the jitterbug.

Designer Looks for Less. Why pay upward of a few hundred dollars for a designer handbag when you can get the same one for way less? “Sometimes we get expensive purses like Michael Kors or Dooney and Bourke, and those would probably run about $50, depending on the style. We do get a nice variety,” Ehrnstrom said. Designer clothing also comes with a much more affordable price tag at Chapter 2. “If it is a high-end clothing item, it would be about $10, like anything from Chico’s, Coldwater Creek or Talbots, for example.”

Re-wear. Recycle. Repeat. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. “Instead of filling up a landfill with bags of clothing or putting them in a box where they end up as rags, these items are actually being used again,” Ehrnstrom said. Tired of the same old outfits and in need a wardrobe refresh? Kill two birds with one stone: Donate your gently used clothes and discover something new for your body type and budget!

Join Skidmore and Ehrnstrom for Chapter 2’s grand re-opening on Sept. 16 at 182 North Main St. As a little extra incentive, “We have bracelets, similar to Alex and Ani style, that we will put little charms on, and we’ll give them to the first 50 customers who make a $10 purchase with us,” Skidmore said. The re-opening will take place on the same day as the Manahawkin Makers Festival, so be sure to come out and support all local artists and businesses.

“We just want to continue to be a blessing in the community,” Ehrnstrom said. “People can come in and get really nice clothing for really inexpensive prices. We had a lot of customers who didn’t want us to close the other store because they relied on it, but we are still here.”

In terms of goals for the future of the boutique, Ehrnstrom and Skidmore hope one day to optimize their website, chapter2thriftboutique.com, to be shoppable to show the array of items the store carries.

As if Chapter 2 weren’t generous enough to the community, a portion of all of its proceeds are donated to various charities. Chapter 2 is now operating with new, longer hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stop by and treat yourself!

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.