Popular consignment shop may leave Oak Park Avenue

Landlord puts Divine Consign space on the market, with lease ending in July


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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Divine Consign may lose its high-profile retail space just north of the Green Line tracks.

Wednesday Journal has learned that the storefront now housing Divine Consign, 111 N. Oak Park Ave., was recently listed for rent. David King, a commercial real estate agent, confirmed that the space will be available on Aug. 1, but he declined to comment further.

Kellie Scott, an attorney and 15-year village resident, opened the furniture resale shop in 2009. It has built a following since then, capitalizing on the economic downturn and residents' willingness to go green by purchasing and selling used furniture.

Reached last Friday, Scott said she had thought there was a handshake deal with the landlord to renew her three-year lease, which expires July 31. But when King put forth a "triple"-sized rent, she balked. If the storefront is leased to someone else, the owner plans to find a new spot in Oak Park for Divine Consign.

"I don't own the property, so they can do whatever they want with it," Scott said. "If it's up for rent, it's up for rent."

King would not comment on whether the rent was tripling in size, though he said his firm and the owner are "absolutely" open to continued negotiations. The property owner, Valerie Carlin, declined to comment.

Divine Consign was so popular when it first opened that Scott added an auxiliary location right around the corner, at 810 North Blvd., a few months later. Scott said the nearby "Annex" space isn't going anywhere, and she plans on operating in Oak Park for a long time.

"Business has been great," she said. "The community has been awesome to us. I absolutely love it here and I like Oak Park Avenue a lot."

Reader Comments

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Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 3:04 PM

Kellie Halsted Scott, you have it all worked out just like an ebay store so it works because people enjoy going on their computer so it also adds in the participation factor. Have a question, are you saying that not Divine Consign donated 150,000 in money and property, but the people who left their products said give it away? It almost seems like if Divine Consign goes away, so does the 150,000 dollars.


Posted: March 13th, 2012 2:50 PM

Spouse and I just sold 4/5 pieces of bedroom furniture at Divine Consign. It was a fantastic process for us from beginning to end. Received payment earlier this month. The one unsold piece? I told them to keep it and they'll hopefully sell it and use the proceeds to pay their insane property taxes! I wonder if Kellie recalls our conversation? In the meantime, south OP would love to have you guys move down here!

SOP Box Sally from Oak Park  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 2:39 PM

Q! The term "Triple net" refers to the tenant paying for their pro rata share of common area maintenance - clearing the sidewalks of snow, washing the exterior windows, etc; and paying their pro rate share of property taxes. *** I wonder what affect the impending tear-up of oak Park Avenue has on the negotiations between tenant and landlord? Having the street front torn up and inaccessible might have something to do with it.


Posted: March 13th, 2012 10:43 AM

Are you moving from this site? If so what is the real story with the lease and landlord?

Kellie Halsted Scott from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 10:17 AM

Thank you all for your kind words and support! We truly love Oak Park! I just wanted to respond to inquiries about our consignment process. There's never a fee to consign with Divine Consign (DC). Consignors can bring in pre-approved furniture anytime - no charge. If you need help, we offer a pick-up service (run by a separate company). Any fee is paid directly to them- DC receives nothing. We offer the service as a convenience to our customers. All DC consignors receive their own online account. From this account, consignors can monitor the status of their items and check account balances 24/7. Consignors can also call and speak to one of our 16 staff members any time to check the status of their account, request checks,etc. If an item doesn't sell within our 60 day consignment period, DC will call and/or email a consignor to advise them of such (90% of our items sell within 60 days). We currently have over 4000 consignors, so this is no small feat. When the consignment period ends, consignors can choose to take the item back or donate it. Consignors can pick up items any time we are open -completely free of charge. If they need help, we offer the opportunity to use our pick-up/delivery service (fees are paid to the moving company -DC receives nothing). If a consignor chooses to donate an expired item (which is typically the case), DC takes care of the donation process completely free of charge. We arrange for a local charity to take the item and the consignor receives a donation receipt for tax purposes. When an expired item is returned to a consignor or donated, Divine Consign does not make any money at all. Divine Consign only makes money on items that are sold (DC and the owner split the proceeds of the sale 50/50). On behalf of and thanks to the generosity of our consignors, in the past year, Divine Consign has contributed more than $150,000 (money and property) to local schools and charities. We think that is really COOL! Thanks again! - Kellie

to Q  

Posted: March 12th, 2012 9:01 PM

Exactly. It's certainly fair, as long as you are aware of how it works, as long as the furniture owner/consignee knows how it works. And if you don't watch the progress and pay attention to the date, the expiration date of the contract that is, can come and go if you let it and your furniture is gone. On the other hand, maybe the consignee wants it to go and doesn't care. The miracle of mindfulness helps with this process.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 12th, 2012 5:33 PM

Great Opportunity, "Q", do you mean that in your contract, it states that your product will be marked down after such a length of time still within the contract time, and when the contract expires they own the product unless you pay to have it removed?


Posted: March 12th, 2012 5:24 PM

Q, the "Great Opportunity" cautionary comment was about trying to sell (not buy) furniture at Divine Consign. When you place a piece of furniture there, if you want it back if it doesn't sell, watch the calender on the markdowns and expiration date carefully. Otherwise, you lose your piece unless you pay to move it out when your contract expires. Divine Consign doesn't lose money because they get to dispose of it and the pieces are not valueless. Stock must move but don't snooze or you will lose


Posted: March 11th, 2012 8:59 PM

How much was Lidos rent per month? Was it ever offered to lower it? What about the Cosi lease. Or how about the deal that didnt happen with the Halsted/Johnny Rockets deal? Like I said. This landlord, to me, seems similar to my what Anthony Shaker might do. I understand you have a financial interest in Mr. Shaker being his attorney, but I think he is capable of answering for himself.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 7:23 PM

Great Opportunity, Be Clear On How It Works, I think you are saying that if the product doesn't move, they want that space for something that will move. That's the way business works and I would think everyone is informed of that when they want something in the shop.

Bill Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 1:00 PM

@ Shopper - Your criticism of Anthony Shaker is not based on facts, unnecessary, and unwarranted. Barbara's Bookstore breached its lease with Shaker by not paying its rent; even after Shaker allowed Barbara's to defer payment of many thousands of dollars in rent for several months. A trial court AND an appellate court ruled fully in favor of Shaker. Cosi left voluntarily at the end of its lease. Lido's and its owners were treated with the utmost of respect and dignity when it closed.

Great Opportunity, Be Clear On How It Works  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 10:46 AM

DC -A great resource for OP, many fine pieces at affordable prices. You can place items here (discounted prices - under true market value) knowing that it will benefit fellow Oak Parkers. The thing you have to know -you pay to move your piece furniture about $50. DC keeps excellent records but you have to watch the markdowns. If you don't sell your item when time is up, you will have to pick it up or pay to move it again or you lose it. They get it. They own it. You lose money but they don't.

Lydia from Oak Park  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 10:41 AM

There's a huge vacant location, where the teachers store was on S. Oak Park Ave, we'd love to have you in a neck of the woods.


Posted: March 10th, 2012 10:27 PM

Just ask Barbara's, Cosi, or Lidos Cafe to start.

Current Shaker Tenant  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 7:24 PM

Shopper, you said it sound like something Mr. Shaker would do. In close to 20 years as a tenant we have never had an issue with the Shaker Management Company. Hope Divine Consign can work it out with their landlord, have heard nothing but great things about the store.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 4:11 PM

Shopper, why would Shaker do that? Do you know of anything else that he did, accept have a tenant leave him because they went out of business, because of business factors, not anything he had done.


Posted: March 10th, 2012 4:05 PM

Seems like something Anthony Shaker would do.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:12 PM

Christine Pastor from Oak Park, the only part you are ignorant on is thinking the landlord needs to triple the rent to cover the taxes.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:11 PM

Cont... one of the best businesses on Oak Park avenue, they can make a profit anywhere, and especially a place that has better parking. As for one of the comments picking on Dan Haley, he is a business man and makes his money selling ads, and has done a very good job at it. His ties may be closer to Pope, and a place that can deliver all the bricks needed to pay 100 South Oak Park Avenue.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:08 PM

Cont... rental agreement, and the person who plans to pay triple the amount is not likely an educated business person and will soon find out whatever they are selling is not going to make a profit necessary to pay the expenditures and will shortly leave, leaving the landlord with a vacant store front, but don't let that concern anyone because remember King? When the lease is signed, money is paid to King, and he loses nothing. For the tenant, they move to another location and since it's Cont...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:05 PM

Cont... and they have property owners by the short hairs and don't care. Now if we accept the fact the landlord is an educated business person, and the store owner is an educated business owner, then neither of them want to get greedy with each other. Now enters David King, the rental agent. The amount of money King makes is based on the amount of rent. He doesn't care if the landlord stays empty for several months until someone comes along with enough money to enter into a Cont....

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:02 PM

Cont... tenant, meaning they are not destroying the rental properly, are not doing anything illegal, and are good business neighbors. At the most, a landlord will raise the rent to cover increases in utilities to the landlord and of course those taxes Oak Park likes to collect for their foolish spending, but you can't expect the Village to know what they are doing because they aren't business people and the only thing they understand is they need more money for their projects Cont...

Christine Pastor from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:00 PM

Rents are high because the property tax is high. The landlord may have to charge this much just to help cover the high property tax increases. Kelli Scott will be successful wherever her business goes and good for her! Good for the community she winds up in. People do not choose to shop in stores just because the sidewalks outside are paved with blue brick TIF money. It is too bad for Oak Park.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 12:59 PM

Cont... the landlord how much they can charge? If a landlord is an educated business person, they already know what they can get for rent for their property. The tenant apparently from the comments making a profit to cover their expenses and possibly generating a profit, which what good business is about. Once again, back up with this story and look at the facts as Marty knows them to be. No landlord is going to let a tenant leave who is paying their rent on time and has been a very good Cont...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 12:56 PM

Cont... Business of all involed consider the most important part of business, and that's the customer, and how much a customer is able to afford to pay for a product. So it has been already realized how much a customer will pay, and the business owner knows how much they have to profit to cover their cost of rent, utilities, insurance, phone, advertising, etc.. So who is being the uneducated business person here? The current tenant, the landlord or some rental agent who tells Cont...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 12:52 PM

I understand that people will add to a story like this, but back it up and think, triple the rent? Lets make a number, and we will use 1,000 dollars. The 1,000 dollars is an average of other rents in the area. Now if a rent is going to jump to 3,000 dollars, and the landlord has decided they are not going to go with averages, and only for what they can get, are going to find that people who really understand business are not going to pay that. Cont...

Rob from oak park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 11:40 AM

Love me some Divine Consign- it's a great part of my weekend. The staff is sincere and cheerful and make everyone feel welcome and excited about feathering their nest. Among their many strengths is the tastefulness of what they accept for consignment and the rapidity of inventory turnover. It's a new store every week. I'm not worried about Kellie's ability to negotiate at all. (She's got zippy banter down, too.)

Sandy Dechert from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 12:05 AM

BIG MISTAKE to overcharge/part with this friendly and very chic business on OP Avenue. Divine Consign people are knowledgeable, considerate, skilled, and unassuming. A great place for buyers AND sellers (I have been both). Super venue to prolong a meal at one of the block's fantastic restaurants, wait for a train, or hunt for affordable treasures.

Eric B.   

Posted: March 9th, 2012 9:35 PM

fellow readers, I apologize for the triple posts, but I just have to speak out, both of my sons have worked for Kellie and I can tell you that her business is not only successful but I would wager is the highest grossing business on the Avenue. WJ has completely ignored them except for Dan Haley's comment when they announced their opening that he did'nt think a resale shop should be on the Avenue. this is a non story ( WJ should know that)

Eric B  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 9:30 PM

pt.2 Have you seen Pawn Stars?? its called a starting point of negotiations. What you have reported on here and sent out as an email blast is what you should know is basically behind closed doors lease negotiations. Marty, I know you and thought you were an OK guy, but after seeing you completely screw up the FlyBird coverage and now this boner, I think you and Dan need to rethink how you report on Oak Park businesses. Seriously

Eric B.  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 9:26 PM

Marty, What exactly is yours or WJ's point of this article? I would offer sensationalism. in the email it actually reads " may leave Oak Park" not OP Ave. Considering that WJ has given Divine Consign ZERO editorial support in 2.5 years other than taking their money for ads. Marty, did they not teach you in Journal ism school anything about Retail leasing? The landlord typically list the property as available for rent as a negotiating tactic to scare the tenant. and the triple rent increase? >

Vince Bray from Oak Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 9:16 PM

And then we wonder why Forest Park ends up with all our best businesses. Treat owners like that and you will continue to see lots of We buy Gold shops in an eraa that people should be dying to set up shops like Design Consign. Its is everthing that OP presents itself to be. Green,chic quirky, hip. Staff is very friendly & helpful, reasonable pricing & awesome selection of goods. We have bought there and shop there often. We intend to even if they are driven out by a greedy landlord.

linda brooks from oak park  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 8:03 PM

What a great place. Bring it to south OP!

Jim Bowman from Oak Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 6:38 PM

See also: http://wp.me/1s9p

Jim Bowman from Oak Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 6:20 PM

Consumer experience in this household has been excellent.

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 6:04 PM

Divine Consign was a godsend when it came time to selling my deceased parents' furniture and paintings. They handled it with care and sensitivity -- and sold nearly all of it. If the rent is really tripling, we're seeing yet another greedy landlord force a business out. Among the reasons downtown Oak Park is so weak are the high property tax (tenants pay it) coupled with high rents due to two landlords owning nearly all of downtown Oak Park. These conditions should not spread elsewhere in OP.

T from Forest Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 5:48 PM

I hope they do close. It's a slick operation with a very poor deal for the seller.

Aging Disgracefully  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 5:26 PM

I hope they stay close. It's a great operation and a great place to pick up furniture.

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