Changes on the horizon for Columbiana Women’s Club

COLUMBIANA – The Columbiana Women’s Club is hoping to obtain a 501c3 non-profit status and as a result will no longer be operating the Next to New consignment store on North Market Street.

Club member Pat Tingle said the club has decided to move ahead without the store since operating it has not been cost effective over the years.

“We are just going to pursue some more viable money options. It wasn’t cost effective in that the person that worked there made really below minimum wage,” she said.

The club was also advised by legal representatives that if they were seeking non-profit status, the store would only be a detriment, she added.

The club hosts two fund-raising efforts through the year, including the upcoming Alice in Wonderland Tea and Garden Tour on July 11 and 12. The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the consignment store or Vivian’s Antiques.

The store is located in the bottom level of the Victorian house the club has owned at 121 N. Main St. the last four decades, and Tingle said once it closes on Aug. 30 the club may decide to rent that space out.

“The Next to New Shop has always been in there It has been difficult. There were years when the women took turns running it and a few managers that didn’t work out,” Tingle said.

Laurie Steeb is currently managing the store, and she hopes it can continue serving the community in some way, possibly through private ownership under a new name at another location.

“We have a wonderful client base so we are hoping we can reopen. We are hoping to keep our customer base,” she said.

The store offers consignment clothing and accessories for men and women and “tweens” and older, she added.

The store will close for business the last day of its summer season. Its seasons run from March through August in the spring and summer and September through February in the fall and winter.

Tingle said proceeds from the store are divided 40 percent to the consignee, 40 percent to the manager and a percentage to the club.

“We do think it was a service to the community. A lot of people really did go there. It didn’t lack business, but it didn’t make the money we hoped it would have,” she said.

The club is hoping a non-profit status will open the door for more funding opportunities through tax-deductible donations and eligibility to receive money or set up a trust account through the Columbiana Community Foundation, she explained.

The money would be put toward maintaining the house that was donated to the club by Helen Buzzard many years ago.

“We need a new roof, we need electrical work done, and we really need to redecorate. We only have two fund raisers a year, the tea and garden tour plus the house tour, and rentals. We just barely make it. If we break even we are in pretty good shape, but if we were to get the 501c3 status we could apply for some support money,” she said.

A new roof could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

The club has a current roster of 100 members and should it not be able to continue supporting the cost of the home it would be turned over to the Columbiana Community Foundation, she said.

“Basically we just try to make enough money to keep going,” she said.