by Autumn Evans
Across from the Fashion Outlet Mall on Military Road sits an unassuming little shop. Inside, it doesn't look quite so little, covered wall-to-wall in clothes in different styles, designer and vintage; casual and formal.
Gemini's Closet, 2027 Military Road, is the first business of Leigh Argona, a Lewiston resident who grew up in the Town of Niagara. The consignment shop came about after Argona lost her job two years ago and needed to find a new way to make a living.
"There was nothing else out there I was interested in," Argona said. "My husband encouraged me to give this a go, so I thought I'd try it!
"And I love clothes, and I love to shop," she added with a laugh.
In fact, many of the items for sale in the shop came from Argona's own closet, she said. The others came from her consignors, most of whom were not business owners, just people trying to make a bit of extra money.
One of those consignors is Tasha Villani, associate director of Leadership Niagara.
"I always have a ton of clothes that I'm always trying to get rid of," she said. Villani said she first got involved as a friend of Argona's, and was glad to see another new business in the area.
"I think it's exciting for any new business to start up in Niagara Falls, especially one run by a woman," she said.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week Argona also has hours when shoppers can consign their own clothes. The only rules are that clothing must be clean, have no holes, rips or stains, be name-brand and be placed on hangers.
Prices in the store range from as low as a few dollars to a high of about $40. Argona also started a punch card system, where after a certain number of purchases customers receive a 20 percent discount.
Most of the clothes in the shop are geared toward a younger crowd, sized for high school and college-aged girls, but Argona said she would like to expand to include items for all ages.
Growing her customer base and getting a bigger store are her goals for the future. She said public response has been good, and she hopes to see the store expand.
"I've been getting positive feedback from people," Argona said. "Everyone walks in and says they love my products, it looks great."