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February 23, 2009

On the Bright Side: Used clothes raise funds for scholars

Nathan and Alma are ready to model some gently used clothing for Regalia shoppers at SUNY Delhi.

Regalia, a retail venture, offers extended life to clothing and also has raised more than $13,000 for scholarships at the State University College of Technology at Delhi, organizers said.

The shop started in August 2003 and was the brainstorm of four SUNY Delhi employees sharing compliments and comments about a blazer bought at Silks and Treasures, a consignment store in Oneonta that sells used clothing.

Barbara Kaplan, assistant to the college president, said she was among the ``founding mothers,'' along with Pam Peters, SUNY Delhi library director, who was wearing the blazer; Bonnie Martin, director of administrative services; and Suzanne Puffer, retired secretary to the president.

``We had no idea what would happen,'' Kaplan said. ``It's hugely successful.''

The store's stock includes dresses, jeans and other clothes, shoes, ties and assorted accessories, she said.

``We often get clothes brand-new with tags,'' Kaplan said.

When the store opened, items were given a range of prices, but now they are sold for a dollar, and SUNY Delhi students receive a second item free.

Martin recently donated two vintage dress forms _ Nathan and Alma, according to a SUNY Delhi newsletter, Delhi People.

``The old dress form, Nathan, belonged to my grandfather and came from a tailor shop in Manhattan,'' Martin said in the newsletter. ``Alma was custom made to my mother, who made her own clothes. They were just hanging out in my father's basement, so I decided to give them new life.''

SUNY Delhi President Candace Vancko supported the venture and guided it into becoming a permanent fundraising effort for the college, Kaplan said.

The store is on the third floor of Bush Hall, and Farrell Hall renovations will include space for Regalia, she said. The name Regalia is a reference to the academic attire of caps and gowns.

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