A room for a good cause

Consign Inn provides space for coalition that aids women in need

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith



Michelle Bart, president of the National Women's Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation, right, and her mother, Donna Bart, at their Consign Inn shop in Hazel Dell. The store along Highway 99 opened on Labor Day weekend. (Photos by Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

Consign Inn

Where: 9920 N.E. Highway 99.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony: 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 22.

Grand opening: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24.

Donna Bart knows all about furniture, antiques and consignment. Her daughter, Michelle Bart, president of the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation, is an expert on media and nonprofits.

The mother-daughter duo are working together to support both of their interests. After retiring from Macy’s furniture and mattress department, 66-year-old Donna Bart wanted to open a consignment shop. Michelle Bart had long wanted an office for NWCAVE, which she’s operated out of her Vancouver townhouse.

“We’ve always wanted an office, but as a nonprofit you can’t justify the overhead,” Michelle Bart, 47, said. The all-volunteer team at NWCAVE takes on sex trafficking cases. “Just to take on one case averages $800 to $1,000.”

She recently had her hip replaced, making it difficult to climb the stairs to her home office. That makes her mother’s consignment shop in Hazel Dell a timely solution.

Consign Inn offers a rotating supply of upscale furniture and home decor. It also will be a place where NWCAVE can hold board meetings and distribute missing-person fliers.

In the corner of the approximately 3,000-square-foot store is a room that Michelle Bart will convert into an office. Once it’s set up, she’ll be able to privately meet with families.

When furniture is donated to the store, NWCAVE becomes the consignor and earns the proceeds. That doesn’t mean the store is a nonprofit, just that NWCAVE is the “nonprofit of choice,” as they say in the consignment business.

“We don’t want the public to be confused by that,” Michelle Bart said. She figures that every donation NWCAVE can get helps. The nonprofit also is connected with Fred Meyer Community Rewards and Amazon Smile.

Besides taking on trafficking cases, NWCAVE trains people to become certified human trafficking advocates, teaches middle school students about Internet safety and holds conferences.

Consign Inn used to be K Home Decor & More, and Donna Bart took over existing clients. There are just a couple of furniture pieces left from the old business; merchandise rotates through the store quickly. Donna Bart said she also hopes to feature local artists in the store.