By Carrie Wenninger | CNA Media Team
Chelsea Llewellyn-Swanda is unzipping her parka-style jacket on a chilly October morning, about to sit down for a cup of coffee in the Kennedy School cafe, when a woman oohs adoringly over the bluetinged faux fur lining the hood.
Chelsea’s face brightens. “Thank you!” It’s a fitting exchange. Chelsea owns Give & Take Resale in Kenton and will open sister store Take It or Leave It, at 5012 N.E. 42nd Ave., in November.
She began her consignment career at Sweet Pea’s in Sellwood, then learned the ropes from the “Godmother of Consignment” herself, Marcee Meijer, at Village Merchants.
Realizing she’d found her passion, the next obvious step was to open a place of her own.
Having opened in 2012, Give & Take is a much-loved and eclectic mix of trinkets, clothing, home goods, kitchenwares, toys, games and kitsch. Take It or Leave It will riff on the same successful formula.
While it was not necessarily her plan to open a second shop, Concordia resident Chelsea was looking to keep her shop manager and stylist topped up with work. Expanding made sense, as they had experienced a profitable year.
“The timing looked right, so we moved on it,” she said.
Through coverage in Concordia News, she became aware of Michael DeMarco and Our 42nd Avenue, and she reached out.
“They’ve been so kind and have really helped us build connections. It’s been very much a hand-holding experience, and we’ve been so supported. I’m grateful.
“We also received funds from an anonymous donor through Our 42nd Avenue, which helped with the transition from rough space to finished store.”
Having a husband in the construction business has helped tremendously, too, and David Swanda of Greylock Construction has spent evenings and weekends readying the space.
With a penchant for baskets, crockery and quirky stuff, Chelsea said she also enjoys bringing a sense of humor to her offerings. “I do kind of live for the oddities,” she laughed.
She recalled a few of those – a taxidermy squirrel, an anatomical teeth model for dental students and a record by Billy Joel’s heavy metal band, Attila, circa 1970.
“Consignment is a community business. It’s a place to find new treasures and a way to keep useful things out of the landfill. It’s also good, affordable fun,” Chelsea pointed out.
“And, at the end of the day, I am proud to be able to make a living from recycling.”
Find her at the new storefront or online at TakeItOrLeaveItPDX.com.
Carrie Wenninger lives on 29th Avenue in Concordia. She is a freelance writer, a mom, a world traveler and a small business marketing consultant. Contact her at WurdGurl@gmail.com.